Sometimes I read or hear a news headline and just have to yell "argh" in response - and this weekend it has happened twice! Yesterday it was the ridiculous suggestion from the Government's Health Minister to get rid of the single GP surgery and instead use "polyclinics" - an idea that has rightly been accused by the BMA as being very "London-centric".
Today it is the unbelievably stupid suggestion that oral tests could be dropped from language GCSEs because they are too stressful!! How can you get a GCSE qualification in a language if you can't prove you can speak it? I am shaking my head in disbelief as I write...not least because I am constantly ashamed about how badly we Brits speak foreign languages as it is. When I go abroad I always try and learn at least 'please' and 'thank you' and will buy a phrase book so that I can attempt to order food and drink - even if I am reading it. Most of the time the waiters or train ticket sellers or shop staff can speak English so often the embarrassment of mis-pronunciation is avoided. But when foreign travellers come here do we help them ask for directions or order a burger by speaking their language? Never! And nor will we if these stupid proposals are implemented. A 15 minute oral test might be stressful but boy how grateful will you be later on it life when you can order yourself something to eat and drink when you are lost, tired and hungry in a foreign land. Can someone please bring some common sense back into our education system?