“It’s not for nothing that the U.K. has been a great player on the world stage for centuries. Having declared their independence from the EU, the British people can now show the world what a determined democracy can accomplish.” – Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 24 June 2016
Well . . . a “determined democracy” is all very well on some occasions to tell its rulers when it has been neglected but it will only be able to “show the world” what a “great player” it could be when a great deal more has been accomplished. The most important factor of all is a complete make-over of our education system.
For the past 100 years, ever since state secondary schools were imposed on the population, half our leading scientific talent has been educated in private schools — 7% of the population — the other half made up from the 93% in state schools.
In 30 years’ time, the likelihood is that China will be manufacturing and exporting all the consumer goods that the world will ever need — or, rather, can afford at any point of time — along with many production goods, too — of the sort that Germany now exports.
The only way that the advanced countries will survive in th decades to come will be by trading their latest scientific, medical and technical services with China — which is likely to remain a copycat culture rather than a creative one. As a reminder from a posting I wrote earlier this year, there will thus be increasing competition between the creative countries of the world.
These are, in order of number of Nobel prizes won in science subjects per million inhabitants: Switzerland (2.50), Austria (1.88), Sweden (1.65), Denmark (1.61), UK (1.41), Hungary (1.12), Germany (1.07), Netherlands (1.00), Norway (1.00), US (0.77), Israel (0.75).
Which of the above will develop the superb educational system that will be required in the coming years?