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‘Make it easy’ science courses recipe for disaster

FORMER Intel CEO Craig Barrett, quite rightly, has said our education system, especially in the sciences, is on the high road to disaster.

I retired from teaching many years ago. Even then, as a science teacher, I and many of my colleagues were bewailing the dumbing down of the curricula. The courses being introduced had less and less to challenge the student or stretch the mind.

The reason was a well meant effort to make sure no student could fail. No one thought to face the reality that we all have different abilities and that a student who failed in one area would often excel in another.

Every student had to do well in every area and, if not, “make it easier” became to order of the day. This fashion was imported from Britain at the time and when I see the results of surveys of the general level of attainment by young people today I feel deeply saddened. This seems to apply on both sides of the Irish Sea.

No one thought to tell the kids it was alright to fail in one thing provided you did your best and did well at something else. As a teacher I met lots of kids who were “no good” in school but left me humbled by their ability and competence in other areas.

Please let’s reverse the process as quickly as possible. Our kids have the brains, get them to use them. Upgrade the courses now.

Partick Browne

Skehard Road




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