Report criticizes British science program

October 11, 2006

A British think tank has criticized the country's new science curriculum for failing to teach the fundamentals of chemistry, physics and biology.

The Twenty-First Century Science General Certificate of Secondary Education, which was implemented in September, uses current events to teach science. However, a report titled "What Is Science Education For?" by the Institute of Ideas think tank said the course is "more suitable for the pub than the schoolroom," The Independent reported Wednesday.

Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College London and the former chairman of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, said in the report that using news to teach science is a "back-to-front approach."

"Science should inform the news agenda not the other way around," Sykes told The Independent.

"Before we can engage the public in an informed debate we need the scientists to do the science.

"And before the future citizen can contribute to the decision-making process, they need to have a good grounding in the fundamentals of science and technology, rather than the sound bite science that state school curriculums are increasingly moving toward."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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