At school, British 15-year-olds' maths skills are now more than two whole academic years behind 15-year-olds in China. In the last decade, we have plummeted down the international league tables: from 4th to 16th place in science; and from 8th to 28th in maths. While other countries - particularly Asian nations - have raced ahead we have, in the words of the OECD's Director of Education, "stagnated."
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Another politician, this time Michael Gove, bemoaning the fall in UK maths and science. However, the decline, as measured by the OECD is real enough. The government's review group reports in August. Finland does well in the rankings with a high degree of teaching and curriculum freedom.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
An auditing of who a country owes it's debt to seems a compelling argument. Especially when the austerity measures including cuts to health and social spending mean that the country's own people die so that offshore bankers get paid. Bankers and international financiers who lent money in the first place with interest that reflected the riskiness of the loan.
Often, as in the case of Greece, debts were built up based on dodgy accounting and bribes. Not done by the people but by a small group of corrupt politicians and lobbyists.
This documentery, called Debtocracy, is well worth watching. It looks at Ecuador as an example of how to audit debt and reduce what is owed by discounting odious or illegitimate debt.