The Cost Of Acing Exams

The British Government is mad keen on educational qualifications, probably because we are a nation where so many young people now leave school virtually unqualified.

So Government Ministers think we should all pass lots of exams as soon as possible. They are in such a hurry to make sure that we do, they are ever so slightly lowering the standards.

Take French or German - invaluable languages to learn if you happen to live in Europe as we do, where a lot of people in France and Germany speak ... French and German. Mais oui -- ja ja. But next year our children will not be expected to read or write anything at all in French or German as part of their studies, because they can still get a brand new British exam pass simply for being able to speak and understand the tiniest bit of these foreign tongues. Mon Dieu. Schweinhunt.

As for English children trying to master their own language, the rules have already been changed. These days you can get a pass and a certificate to hang on the wall without reading a novel or a poem or a play. You won't even have to prove you can spell William Shakespeare. In fact the standards have shifted so far downhill that you'll probably get through by showing you can understand the front page of the National Inquirer.

Meanwhile the nature of school lessons is being drastically altered by the government in order meet guidelines for gender equality. Boys are being encouraged to learn traditional female pursuits like netball, knitting and dance while girls are told it would be a very good thing if they did a spot of boxing, metalwork and weightlifting.

So next time you meet a youngster who can't read a word of French but does a neat foxtrot, you'll know exactly where he or she was educated!
By Ed Boyle
  • CBSNews

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