Reader Letter: Decline in intelligence is a concern
PUBLISHED: 14:09 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:25 23 July 2018
One reader is perturbed about a reported drop in intelligence. What do you think?
The lull between academic years invites a bleak look at the pretensions of education.
Not so long ago, first class degrees were rare even though entry to university was far more selective and contact hours greater. Despite brilliant results, a quarter are now “firsts”, graduation has become a diminishing achievement.
Schools too eager to provide ever rising grades for pupils, yet many leave with little purpose, unable to manage the basic practicalities for a useful and happy life.
The apparent decline in intelligence, as measured by IQ over recent decades, deserves attention. More immediately concerning is the rise in maladjustment and mental ill-health among students at all ages and the decline in teacher numbers as the task loses its merit.
From Thatcher to Gove, middle-aged politicians have imposed the idea that children should learn like themselves and be shaped and tested by “subjects” to suit commerce. Institutions under pressure connive in making it look good: infants enter academies blessed by faiths, graduates exit with gowns and grades bought by large debts.
What a tawdry sham it has become, unfit for creating self-aware adults with diverse skills and enthusiasms. We should look at better models of method and curriculum elsewhere and, above all, turn again to teaching that works cooperatively with the distinctive ways the young learn and thrive.
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