‘The world is changing: would you rather your child learned a foreign language or computer code?

Ken Baker, Tory peer and former Education Secretary spoke in a House of Lords debate entitled English Baccalaureate: Creative and Technical Subjects, reports the Yorkshire Post. 

WHEN I was helping to fashion the national curriculum in the 1980s, I selected 10 subjects. The basic subjects were English, maths and science and seven more to ensure a rounded education, with art andother creative subjects among them, writes Ken Baker.

The idea was to prepare GCSEs for the 10 subjects and hope that 70 per cent of schools could reach the standard. In fact it proved to be too ambitious. You do not have to worry too much about bright children because they will survive any education system, and that is true right across the world – if they are not neglected they will do very well.

In 2010, Michael Gove decided to impose the EBacc on the education system. It covers just five subjects: English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language. Everyone is expected to take it. The EBacc is the policy of an American educationist called ED Hirsch.

There are very few examples around the world where it has worked, but nonetheless it is what we have got, and of course it has had very serious consequences. A whole range of subjects have been dropped. From 2010 until now, art, music, drama and dance have all declined at GCSE; that is irrefutable.

I am very concerned about design and technology, a subject that I introduced in 1988, where the take-up has fallen by 30 per cent. By the age of 16, many youngsters will not have had any experience of a technical education at all. It is not surprising that that is in huge contrast to Germany where by the age of 18, some 70 per cent of young people have had experience of a technical education, while in Britain it is 30 per cent.

Read more of Ken Baker thoughts on the EBacc system ‘The world is changing: would you rather your child learned a foreign language or computer code?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: EBacc, Exams, Secondary and Technology.

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