Out Numbered and Out Thunk

Wednesday 1237hrs

The bastion of reliable, unbiased and journalistically adept reporting the BBC brings home a little gem today about how woefully optimistic UK educational establishments have become. You can read it by clicking the following sarcastic and search engine optimised link text: High Standards for UK Universities.

One could argue that as I made it through the whole system without dropping a grade that this was already painfully obvious, however I’m sure you’ll agree that the comparison in entry test questions really slams it home. The Chinese one has so many lines! Now at first glance you might think that this is OK, as the Chinese language has lots more lines in it than English so naturally, they’re used to dealing with such problems. However on inspection you see that the problem reaches further than simply counting the number of lines, though in fairness the UK questions isn’t really a lot more developed. Some people could quite honestly sort that one out without the aid of a logbook or calculator in no time flat.

There is more, though, even beyond considering that the Chinese question is set for people not even into University yet and the British one is set for first year students. At Loughborough University (UK) I’m told that maths was causing such a problem for entry students to Engineering that to remedy the problem they simply dropped A-Level maths as a requirement! Maybe they realised that A-Level maths was a joke beyond help and that it really didn’t matter anyway, or perhaps they’re suffering from the same disease as the rest of the system, slackening standards to boost pass rates and make everyone feel jolly good about themselves. Looking back, our A-Level maths was a damn sight easier than that of 5 years before and the current offering, in A or AS form, is down at the O-Level standard of years gone by. Should we just get over it and outsource our education too?