While our political parties of right-wing and left-wing persuasions continue to undermine the educational process in this country through their ceaseless ideological battles over opt-outs, A-levels, testing and streaming, the countries of South-east Asia are quietly and effectively producing the educational elite who will dominate the world economy in the 21st century.
Consider the following statement: "Intelligence and the ability to learn are not given equally to everyone. Scientific knowledge and specialisation have increased rapidly, but encyclopedic minds that can absorb such knowledge are rare. In addition, since the conditions for teaching and learning, and the money spent on them, are limited, the focus on providing all students with an all-sided education with equal levels required in all subjects does not encourage more advanced students to develop their talents. Therefore, most cities and provinces have paid special attention to training gifted students while maintaining quality education for all students."
We could be forgiven for thinking that such an expression of old-fashioned elitism issued from some Far Eastern version of a right-wing Tory think tank.
It is, in fact, a policy statement from the ministry of education and training of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
DAVID WILSON Principal Cambridge Tutors College Water Tower Hill Croydon Surrey