The Tory idea of education

David Cameron and his Bullingdon circle have education policies borrowed from the Wizard of Oz: Like the Scarecrow, the British public doesn’t need brains, it needs diplomas (see below). And why not? No one they know learned anything they needed to know at university except how to run away from trouble. The value of three years in Oxford for them was that they spent three years in Oxford, and that they were there together with other similarly situated scions of privileges. This is why they see nothing but prejudice in top universities’ reticence to admit the products of second-rate British comprehensive schools. They seem genuinely mystified by the notion that there could be any objective preparation that these children are lacking, preventing the top universities from admitting them to the charmed circle to which all good things flow.

Anyway, their new education initiative is to get more children learning about computer programming, dubbed the Year of Code. The director of the programme, one Lottie Dexter, explained in a recent interview, “You can pick up [learning to code] in a day.” Alas, her busy job didn’t leave her a day free to do it herself, so she knows nothing about programming, and she says she’s planning to space out this day of learning over a full year — minus the month that’s already gone. It’s not just that she lacks anything so crass as expertise in either programming or teaching; or that she couldn’t answer a question about what “code” is; or that her main qualification seems to be her excellent connections to the Conservative Party elite. Even for a non-expert her idea of what’s involved in teaching people this complicated skill are laughably vague: All about “getting people thinking about it now” and “by September they’ll be really excited”, and by the end she’s babbling about computer code as an international language fostering understanding between peoples.

Lottie Dexter explaining how to code reminded me of Monty Python explaining how to rid the world of disease.



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