Britain 2028: who needs physics?

4th July 2008 at 01:00
Mischievous examiners go boldly into a dumbed-down, reality television future
Mischievous examiners go boldly into a dumbed-down, reality television future

An elite science exam asks pupils to imagine Britain's dumbed-down future after the qualification is axed.

The Advanced Extension Award exams, sat alongside A-levels by thousands of high-achievers, are to be abolished in 2009. The Government justified the decision by saying the introduction of the A* grade to A-levels meant AEAs were no longer required.

Examiners have responded by putting a satirical question (see right) into one of the final physics AEA papers, painting a dystopian vision of 2028. Science is no longer studied beyond primary school, physics is irrelevant, and the secondary curriculum focuses on hospitality studies and media studies. The economy is now buoyed up by tourism and reality television.

The question asks pupils to write a letter arguing the case for science with school governors.

Graeme Littler, head of physics at Harrow International School in Bangkok, believes this vision could well become reality. "Like many teachers within my discipline, I agree with the sentiments contained in the question," he said. "I wonder how the removal of things like AEAs are going to allow the very brightest to prove themselves.

"But science teachers shouldn't jump into retraining for hotel management. There is increasing demand for science specialists around the world."

The Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment, the exam board which set the question, said: "This is a purely hypothetical scenario and is not based on the views of any individual."

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