Anorak News | The Brain Drain

The Brain Drain

by | 12th, January 2006

‘SCREW your thinking hats on. There now follows a sample new-look GCSE chemistry question. Q: “Ali likes potatoes. He knows potatoes can be cooked by frying them or boiling them. Write down one other way to cook potatoes.”

Answer: Place exam paper, GCSE exam certificates and other wastepaper into a large bin. Set fire to paper with match. Throw on potato.

The Mail has more sample questions from the revamped science GCSEs to test its brainy readership with. Let’s take a look at the biology module.

Q: “Suggest one feature you can see [insert picture of rabbits here] could help a rabbit to survive in its natural habitat.”

A study of the picture reveals no central heating unit, no fridge-freezer and absolutely no telephone by which a hungry rabbit can dial the Lettuce U Like fast food chain.

All things considered, we concur with the Mail’s suggested answer: “Big ears.”

This is all very interesting. And those of you who didn’t take or failed science exams at school are forgiven for thinking this is your big chance to get back in class and get some qualifications.

But why bother. You can pass these tests without any tutoring. Just listen to Dr Martin Stephen, headmaster of prestigious St Paul’s public school, London.

“The new GCSEs are to real science what baby food is to steak,” says he. While we check the jar of baby Armani’s steak puree and carrots, Dr Stephen goes on.

“They will bore the pants off many students, not inflame them with a new love of science,” says he. Science has been “dumbed down and broadened out”.

And Dr Stephen seems to have a point. We’ve already seen a couple of sample questions. And now we read that these new science lessons will focus less on sir setting fire to things and centre instead on something called “science for life”.

New science is all about cooking potatoes and noting how rabbits have big ears. Pupils will concentrate their minds on modern issues, like GM foods, global warming and cloning.

Those students with a flair for science can be put on more academic programmes, but the rest get by on Ali’s microwaved genetically modified spuds and Flopsy’s cloned ears…’

Posted: 12th, January 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink