In 2016, a study carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that for literacy in the developed world, England ranks dead last. The same study also stated that for numeracy in the developed world, England ranks second-to-last. Even among graduates from English universities, the OECD study found, one in ten had literacy or numeracy skills that were classified as “low”.
These results are astonishing, not to mention shaming. They reflect decades of misdirection in British education, including the misdirection of resources. Understandably, successive governments complain about a lack of resources. But all of those laments only serve to highlight the strangeness of Britain’s latest priorities in funding education.
This past weekend it emerged that last year the British government funnelled £20 million to Palestinian schools. A review by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that these revenues go towards funding a curriculum which omits teaching peace, promotes the use of violence — specifically jihad — and encourages martyrdom. An analysis of the textbooks used in Palestinian schools funded by the UK government — using UK taxpayers’ money — found that these textbooks, which come from the Palestinian Authority (PA), “exerts pressure over young Palestinians to acts of violence.”
A science textbook intended for 12-year-olds, for example, claims to teach them Newton’s second law of motion in the following way: