Did you hear the one about the Welsh education system?
The Estyn Report of 2012 concluded that 40% of Welsh children entering secondary education are going to schools that are barely “adequate.”
Carwyn Jones, admitted that indeed “more work needs to be done”. His education minister, Leighton Andrews, followed this up with an insistence that Wales was not going to follow the English with a new ‘O’ Level type exam that is more rigorous and demanding than the present GCSE.
Can’t have that now can we?
Mustn’t upset the Welsh medium schools with some heinous English deliverance must we? Never mind the fact that Welsh children will be burdened with a third class education, as if their future isn’t grim enough.
Standards? They can go hang. No, the problem is all about money, we are told. It’s all Barnett’s fault. Westminster just isn’t dishing out enough money to Wales, you see.
It’s alright for 10 Welsh poets to enjoy a 10 day little jolly at the Smithsonian in Washington, all expenses paid plus a £100 a day pocket money.
It’s alright to give £4.4m to Welsh publishers to publish 10 books on Welsh place names and DIY manuals on how to fry a Welshcake (I jest not).
It’s alright to give millions of tax-payers’ money to a tiny number of people to write the 100th learned tome on the fanciful Mabinogion, What the hell, there’s no such thing as an ebook in Wales? Stop the tax-payer gravy train? You must be joking!
You may like to know that in this age of austerity, the English arts council has already taken a 21.9% cut with more to come. Some English councils have cut arts funding altogether. What has Wales done? The arts council of Wales has been cut by 2.9%.
“Come on Westminster, Wales needs more money,” is the cry from our devolved government.
The idea of looking at what’s happening across the UK, with moves to raise standards and make exams worth something again, isn’t even on the agenda.
To hell with the future, to hell with Welsh youth, to hell with the fact that entries to Welsh universities are at an all- time low. Who cares that billions of European largesse has gone AWOL, without any kind of scrutiny and accountability?
That’s the sad tale of the Welsh education system: ignoring moves to raise standards and blaming all ills on London while the Welsh administration fritters away valuable public funds on flights of devolved fancy. A true Welsh tragedy.