Now it’s geography that’s going to be history

In this column by Giles Coren he discusses proposals to abolish subjects in schools. I have added an extract and highlighted my favourite bit.

“In recent years, it has been fashionable to scoff at Francis Fukuyama’s announcement in 1992 of the “end of history”, pointing out that the fall of communism and the death of ideology has by no means spelt the end of material progress but merely moved the diodes around which historical forces polarise.

Now, however, we can clearly see that Fukuyama didn’t mean history was over, per se, just that it was changing its name to Human Social and Environmental Understanding.

It is, however, the end of geography (it will also, confusingly, be called Human Social And Environmental Understanding) that will cause the greatest upset, for if there is no geography then what on earth will the PE master teach as his indoor subject? (I mean, come on, you can’t teach Human Social and Environmental Understanding wearing a tracksuit, now can you?)

I was reasonably OK at English, and proud of it. It is, after all, the only meaningful thing to be good at. Being good at French or physics or history just meant you’d been listening to the teacher, but to be good at English – the language we all have to speak anyway – was like being “good at being a person” or “excellent at living”. Now it’s going to be called Understanding English, Communication and Languages, which is, like, sooooo lame, you know what I’m saying? I mean, bruv, who wants to communicate, innit?

A huge change of personality will come over the curriculum: the muscular thickos who can climb a rope but barely read will now shine in Understanding Physical Health and WellBeing, which sounds every bit the intellectual equal of Scientific and Technological Understanding. And all the subjects for whacked-out druggies with dirty hair will be lumped together as Understanding Arts and Design – although many will no doubt be put off by its having four words, which is way more than they are capable of reading at a sitting.”

Read the rest here.


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