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Yesterday the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published figures which compare the standards of 15-year-olds in 65 developed countries. There are no separate figures for Scotland so I'm assuming they have been collated under the UK banner. The study was based on two-hour tests of 500,000 15-year-old schoolchildren.
Education spending has risen from £35.8 billion to £71 billion yet the UK has slipped from 8th to 28th in maths, from 7th to 25th in reading and from 4th to 16th in science in the last decade. Twenty per cent of 15-year-olds are 'functionally illiterate'.
Finland, which places strong emphasis on teacher quality, was ranked highest European nation.
The National Association of Head Teachers said: "This shows the price paid for a decade of targets, tests and tables that suck the joy out of learning and curb talents of front-line professionals." That's the first time I've heard the NAHT complain. They usually appear to go along with government decisions.
For years now many of us have commented on the dumbing down of education yet politicians seem afraid to do any radical changes and prefer to tinker around with the system with schemes such as the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.
Our priorities are wrong. In Scotland, the vast majority of schools are eco-schools - a worrying concept. We have lost the ability to teach our children the basic subjects which will prepare them for the adult world. Of course, such poor standards in our schools results in poor standards in university/college education. Our young are spending four years in universities doing degree courses which many academics say should be reduced to two years at the most. Our higher education system also needs a radical overhaul, but as long as governments continue to throw money at it, nothing will be done.
For the sake of our children we have to insist changes are made.