At the moment I am making a contribution to that flagship of British industry; selling a “great” British education to citizens of the PRC. The product is in line with many other “great” British products such as the invisibles that flourished in the 80s. Do any of you remember those heady days of advertising sales? “Well John, I have got a double page full coloured spread for you here and you can have it for ten thousand pounds but Paul at IBM wants it too so you will have to make a decision.” “How many copies do we print?” “20,000 for circulation.” Now I worked with the printer and I knew that the figure was closer to 5,000. The product today isn’t quite as invisible, something is offered but the question is, what?
Our kids will be ready for their stint in the UK. However, will that be because of us or despite us? There will be more on that later in the blog, unless “Captain Sensible” gets to me, pushes me onto the path of “Queen Reason” and facilitates my writing about more interesting topics such as, the military regime in Burma, the legal case for Palestine, the fight for democracy in Pakistan, whatever …… Still if there is a theme for now it has to be the here and now and I will classify work at the present time as serving the needs of the UK marketing an “education” to foreign students. In China these students will turn up in places like the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Nottingham Ningbo or the Sino-British College. They will have a conditional for entry to a UK university (in theory an IELTS 6.5) waived and their parents will lump out lots of money to ensure that they get a “quality” education. Nevertheless, it has to be emphasised that in the case of the institutions mentioned a high “Gao Kao” score and time ensures that they are fully equipped for the illustrious “ivory tower” institutions that await them. It is already blatantly obvious that for the most part they have far superior IQs to those who are preparing them. It is, however, the industry in the UK itself and their bringing over students with IELTS scores of 4, 4.5 or 5 that worries me more. For them there are sixteen week, twelve week and ten week pre-sessionals and while there are good people working in the industry this can mean jobs for those who have, at best, enjoyed the crudest of half educations followed by the most rudimentary courses in teacher training; a nice little earner, EAP, Study Skills, Harvard citation, students paraphrasing academic journals when they cannot write a sentence and then they are kicked up to faculty where they spend another 18,000 pounds for an MSc, successful completion of the pre-sessionals in lieu of the IELTS 6.5 gets them there and the reality is, if they were to take their IELTS again after the pre-sessional course they would probably get a lower score than they did before they took the course. The British lost their soul a long time ago, didn’t they? “Well John, I have got a double page full coloured spread for you here and you can have it for ten thousand pounds but Paul at IBM wants it too so you will have to make a decision.” “How many copies to we print?” “20,000 for circulation.” F.W.Engdahl in his, “A Century of War” shows that the sting is probably bigger than we can all imagine.
The picture was taken by me waiting to get on the 178 bus in Suzhou Dashu Lake Higher Education Town today.
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