This is the view of one of the Welsh government’s own education adviser’s, Professor David Reynolds, following last month’s PISA report (Programme for International Student Assessment, published by the OECD on 3.12.13). In the past he has also commented that “Wales is in the last chance saloon” and will be “economically dead”, if it doesn’t start taking seriously the abysmal state of education standards in Wales.
The PISA report referred to confirms unequivocally every word I have been saying both here and elsewhere, about the crisis of opportunity that is facing Welsh children in a modern, global world. Wales really is the supreme dunce of dunces in the UK when it comes to the Three R’s, let alone anything remotely resembling academic excellence. One might not agree with Michael Gove and his free for all policies but his comment in respect of Wales and its primitive state of academic learning, “You only have to look across the Severn bridge to see a country going backwards,” undoubtedly has enough decibels to drown out a punk rock band blasting away at Glastonbury!
Every year Welsh education gets worse and what does Carwyn and his Team Druid have to say about this disgraceful state of affairs ? The usual plaintive and nauseating wails of “It’s all everyone else’s fault and give us time!” The only thing our Carwyn ever gets passionate about sources tell me, are the dreams of an infatuated love affair with an obliging rugby ball.
Give them time?!! They’ve had 14 years to put things right and to stop giving Welsh school children a fourth class education.
Complacency! Complacency! Complacency!
Out of 68 countries, Wales is ranked 43rd. Every year the Welsh government learns nothing. Industry checks out the educational fibre of a location before it sets up there. It looks at local recruitment potential carefully – no wonder the private sector won’t come anywhere near Wales without being wined, dined and bribed with taxpayer largess. Its young are just not skilled, numerate or literate enough, full stop. And it isn’t their fault. All fingers of accusation must point to Cardiff Bay. To towering arrogance, ‘telescopic’ immaturity, ghastly ignorance and Peter Pan delusion.
So much for the noble intent of devolved authority and power to the locals. All the Welsh Labour ‘locals’ have done in Wales, is destroy it. Health, the economy and education have all been devastated by years of cronyism, the farcical and self-piteous violin strings of bleeding heart nationalism and the vacuous grimaces of deniability and stillborn, tin-pot historical grandeur.
As I have said many times in these columns and for want of stating the painfully obvious: Our young are the future. Where Wales is concerned and again to quote Professor Reynolds, the Welsh government has turned the principality into a “theme park,” and a hellishly wet one at that.
When are the Welsh going to wake up? There is also a lesson here for Scotland. Power to the natives doesn’t work. Gt. Britain is just too small. For example, Birmingham has the same population as Wales. Would the citizens of the UK ever consider giving Birmingham autonomy over its own affairs?
Local authority prerogative and community action is one thing, wholesale sovereignty and institutional chaos quite another. Deluges of ‘Reports’ and ‘Commissions’ that are never acted upon and merely line the pockets of Crachach aficionados is the Welsh Way and to hell with anyone who stands up and says ‘Enough’!
Hand back education to Westminster Carwyn before it’s too late, because to date all you have done is cheat our youth and condemn them to a life on the minimum wage – that’s assuming of course that they can even find a job outside the Welsh public sector!
One final word, when Carwyn was asked at the Welsh Senate by Kirsty Williams AM, leader of the Liberal Democrats, whether he was ashamed of the Pisa results, he replied…..
And not even an apology or word of acknowledgement that he was at the Cabinet table for the last thirteen years when all these dire decisions relating to Welsh education were being taken!
Rather says it all, doesn’t it?
Julian Ruck is an author, journalist and columnist. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media
Tags: Carwyn Jones, Julian Ruck, Letter from Wales, Michael Gove, OECD, Pisa report