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Cooking classes? Try encouraging engineers, urges county MP
A WORCESTERSHIRE MP has hit out against the dumbing down of the school curriculum - issuing a passionate plea for a Government “change of heart”.
Peter Luff says the country’s shortage of skilled engineers could be hampered by a proposed overhaul of the design and technology modules.
The Department for Education’s forthcoming changes to the lessons mean much of the focus will be on cooking.
Mr Luff, Conservative MP for Mid-Worcestershire, has now secured a vital House of Commons debate in the hope he can get ministers to change tack before September.
The new curriculum is currently out for consultation with schools, businesses and the wider public.
Mr Luff said: “We face a critical engineering skills shortage in this country, and we are competing in a global economic race.
“That’s why it is vital that we inspire our students with the ambition to become the engineers of the future.
“We need to foster a passion for engineering within our schools - to do this it’s crucial that we get the design and technology curriculum right.
“Of course it is important that our children are taught practical skills like cooking and it’s right food should feature in the curriculum – but it has become the prime aim of the draft curriculum and that’s wrong.
“There must instead be a big emphasis on the much wider, creative aspects of design and technology, which are the foundations of the advanced technological world we live in now.”
Last year the Royal Academy of Engineering said the UK needs to increase the number of science, technology and maths graduates by 50 per cent to avoid slipping down the innovation league tables.
In this country 23,000 engineers graduate every year, but India is producing eight times as many and China 20 times as many.
Mr Luff, who is stepping down from parliament in 2015, says addressing the shortage of engineers will be the main aim of his final two years as an MP.
The debate, which will take place on Wednesday, will be attended by a minister from the Department for Education.
The Government has pledged to listen to the feedback it gets during the consultations.