The Tess Archive - 21 August 1992
`Climbdown' fails to blunt test criticism
As schools return in what will be a make-or-break session for national testing, it is becoming clearer that euphoria over the government's much- touted "climbdown" is being replaced by growing resistance. The proposal that pupils should be tested at the five stages of the 5-14 programme instead of two (which therefore extends testing to S1 and S2 for the first time) is receiving a less than fulsome response.
`Good Lord's' assumption too far
The government's defence of its record on nursery education came in for biting criticism from Highland's councillors after Lord James Douglas- Hamilton, the education minister, turned down the council's pleas for nursery provision to be statutory for all education authorities. The comments from what one councillor referred to as "the good Lord" particularly irked the education committee. He pointed out that Highland was second-bottom for nursery places, and "assumes therefore that there is ample potential for an expansion within existing funding".
Employers discount exam work
Employers value school-leavers who do as they are told, rather than those with creativity and mathematical ability. A survey of 42 firms, including British Gas and the Gateway supermarket chain, has found that a "positive attitude to work", reliability and being willing to follow instructions come top in a list of 38 desirable attributes. Academic qualifications came 35th.
Ruin after the revolution
Education in Nicaragua's northern Atlantic Coast region, Raan, is grinding to a halt. It saw some bitter fighting of the "Contra" war in the Eighties and even those who fought with the US-financed rebel Yatzama party feel betrayed by their former backers; aid has fallen far short of expectations in the wake of the Sandinistas' election defeat in 1990.
Can they see the wood for the trees?
One week each year, 32-year-old Madagascar teacher Kamisy takes his class on the mountainside to plant saplings. The number of trees they plant is small compared with those the villages cut down, but he hopes to set an example. Madagascar's forest is being destroyed at 200,000 hectares a year and could disappear entirely by 2020.