Our long technological decline is largely due to our failure to appreciate engineering. We have had a desperate need for good engineers for at least 50 years, but our education system does not allow them to be
Engineers should be creators. This is the essence of engineering; this is what Brunel did. Scientists discover things, engineers create things. But our schools impede the emergence of great engineers, and the core of the problem is the A-level exam.
Early in their school careers, pupils have to choose between science and arts. The analysts, the mathematicians, go for science; the creative people head for arts. By 18 and university entrance, we have creative people who lack the necessary maths to enter engineering courses, and people with A-levels in maths and physics who lack the required creativity to excel as engineers. No wonder British industry is disappearing so fast.
The solution? Well, the first step is to abolish A-levels and replace them with a six-subject system that allows maths and physics and creativity to stay together.
Department of Civil Engineering
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