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It's all just so unfair ..

"Is the world fair?" asks Edexcel's new business studies GCSE. Well, how long have you got? Er, about 18 minutes, actually.

The fairness question is included in a section of the examination on economic understanding, with pupils asked to grapple with issues such as domestic and international inequality.

They also have to consider whether international trade is a force for good or evil in the world, and the effectiveness of government efforts to address the question of poverty.

Not included in the syllabus is any comparison of the typical wages of Edexcel examiners with the board's highest-paid director - at pound;450,000 in 2006.

One might also be left wondering whether the 18 minutes allotted to this vexed topic - which amounts to one-fifth of a 90-minute paper - is really sufficient to do justice to such a profound and far- reaching question.

On the other hand, many teenagers - of the kind immortalised by comedian Harry Enfield, in the obstreperous guise of Kevin - might offer only a one-word answer: "Nooooooh!"

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