(Please note, 'Riski' was actually a typo, but just like there is much truth in fiction, there is also much accuracy in autocorrect...)
For those who have the good sense not to forensically study the news as I do, or who are not UK-based, first a little background... Here in the UK, all 'core' subjects, such as English, science, and Math(s), are compulsory up until age 16, at which point, students take GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education). After that, they can progress onto vocational qualifications, or if they wish to proceed to university, they do a two-year A-level course, qualifications which are roughly equivalent to American SATs.
The difference, however, is that up until now, no subject has been compulsory post-16 - students could pick and choose to study whatever they wanted at A-Level, usually taking three or four subjects. Very many such students breathe a huge sign of relief at this stage, when they are finally able to drop the detested Maths... but now the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has made Maths compulsory for all up until age 18, and this has engendered quite a forceful response from the people of these innumerate isles...
In evaluating this subject, I must start by saying that it is one extremely close to my heart, if not my brain, as I swear I have a form of dyscalculia (yes, it's a thing....) and was always utterly terrible at Maths at school.
One of my earliest school photos literally depicts me with my five-year-old head in my hands as I struggled with yet another agonisingly inscrutable block-counting exercise (that swot Jenny Michaels who I sat next to aced it as always, and much as Jenny and I were friends, I deeply resented her breezy prowess with those blocks...).
I continued to struggle right up until my GCSEs, when I did indeed, and as had been widely predicted, fail Maths quite spectacularly, managing an 'E' (which pleased me insofar as it meant my GCSE results were literally ACE, at least acronymically... three of each letter, you see).
This result, however, displeasing to the more academic factions of my family as it might have been, did not create an obstacle where it came to my admission to the nearby FE college to take A-levels, since I wouldn't be doing anything remotely numerical. I took English, Psychology, Philosophy and Media Studies (look, it was hard, ok...), and, although theoretically I was meant to resit Maths GCSE, I "forgot" to formally enrol in the class and nobody reminded me, so I never did.
Two years later, I received AAAB in my A-levels, and was easily able to go on to university. None of the universities that offered me a place (Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, York) expressed any concern that I lacked a Maths GCSE qualification.
With Mr. Sunak's plans, however, progressing to university wouldn't have been remotely possible for me, nor would I have even been admitted to begin A-levels in the first place.
What I've described above is far from a unique situation, and there are veritable hordes of people who are never quite able to get their head around GCSE Maths (and certainly, would have absolutely no hope of taking it on to A-level standard). And so, with one fell swoop, Sunak has excluded millions of young people, now and into the future, from further and higher education. As there are so many people who hate Maths, and who breathe such a huge sigh of relief when they can drop it at 16, making it compulsory to 18 is going to be the deciding factor for many that further and higher education is not for them.
Now, certainly, the benefits of higher education in particular are often overrated, and many young people would be better served getting an apprenticeship or going straight into the workforce than going to university - but that the government has suddenly, very abruptly, forced this fate on people - after doing everything in its power to get as many 18-year-olds into university as possible since the '90s - is highly suspect, and as always, there's a nefarious reason for it.
Whenever the elites do anything, there are always two reasons for it - one, the reason given to the public to make it palatable, and two, the real reason. The official reason given for this change is to help enhance young people's skills and future job prospects, but I singularly fail to see how Maths GCSE does that, as I *did* actually pass the subject several years after leaving school (with the aid of a Maths tutor a year younger than me), and my life remains remarkably unenhanced as a result. Nothing I learned in order to pass that paper has ever come up since, and the only mathematics I have ever had to use in my day-to-day life is the kind of maths you do on a calculator (you know, the ones our Maths teachers said we "wouldn't have in our pockets every day").
While we need some skilled mathematicians in society, and we have them (at least, I've never seen the headline, "country buckles under shortage of essential mathematicians"), we do not need every teenager in the country to be highly adept at the subject, nor to dramatically limit their prospects if they're not. There is no good reason someone going on to be, say, an English teacher, needs to have an A-level standard qualification in Maths, and the same can be said for very many professions - probably most of them.
So. as we can rule out "improving young people's lives" as the explanation (for this or for anything the government does), what is the real reason for Sunak's digital diktat?
The real reason is that education at every level is about to be radically re-imagined, and universities as we know them will soon be no more. The new Maths mandate is an easy way of immediately and dramatically slashing student numbers (because so many won't make the grade in Maths to progress, or will drop out at 16 because they don't want to do more Maths), for institutions that are imminently earmarked for dramatic reduction.
The primary purpose of university for the last twenty years or so has not been to educate anyone or improve their job prospects - at least, not in non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects - but rather, to induct them into a certain world view, namely, "wokeism", and I covered that at length in this essay. Effectively, the "cultural warriors" fighting for men's "rights" to be women and other sorts of Monty-Python-esque lunacy, are virtually all under 40 and virtually all university educated, in non-STEM subjects.
Increasingly, meanwhile, there has been a strong social pushback against non-STEM degrees in recent years, with critics stating they are becoming more and more useless - saddling students with huge debts whilst not improving their job prospects - and there are increasing calls for universities to be made accountable: that, if they can't prove their non-STEM (often called "Mickey Mouse") degrees translate into improved graduate prospects for their students, these subjects will be axed.
Well, who are all the students doing these "softer", non-science based subjects (e.g., English, History, Sociology, anything ending with "... Studies")? Overwhelmingly, people who aren't very good at Maths. People with "good at Maths" brains often - if not exclusively - stay away from the "soft" subjects and go for ones more likely to have lucrative job prospects at the end of them.
So, the bulk of those who did take these non-STEM subjects (those who do not have the requisite skills to study computing or engineering, etcetera), are now effectively being excluded from university, because a) they won't be able to get in without a high-level Maths qualification and b) the subjects they would have studied are not going to exist as degrees for much longer, with the possible exception of at very elite institutions, that can afford to keep offering them to the offspring of the elite, for whom going to university is just a rite of passage rather than a ticket to a well-paid job (I mean, what exactly was the point of the future King of England doing an Art History degree?).
Universities are not needed to indoctrinate the youth into wokeism any longer, as that has been done very successfully these last twenty years, with the 'values' pushed by universities becoming more and more outlandish and extreme, and therefore setting the stage for the great pushback that is currently underway, as we head for a huge pendulum shift back in the other direction. In effect, shoe-horning every other 18-year-old into university was necessary when the culture wanted to brainwash them with wokeism, but now the aims of the social engineers are shifting, that chapter is coming to an abrupt end.
It is no secret that the social engineers intend for a 'Great Reset', where every aspect of society is dramatically reimagined, and education is certainly no exception. With the already-in-motion plans for 15-minute cities, and the endless restrictions on travel, coupled with soaring costs of living, I predict that, by 2030, "going away to university" will no longer be 'a thing'.
Student numbers will have dramatically reduced due to the Maths mandate rendering millions ineligible, whilst degrees that can't guarantee a high wage premium upon graduation will be axed. In a protracted cost of living crisis where people can't reliably afford to heat their homes, the 'luxury' of spending three years studying subjects that don't guarantee good jobs, will not be seen as viable.
STEM subjects will still exist, but those that can be done entirely online (such as Maths) will be, and those that require lab work, will be done at students' local institutions. There will be no more "living in", a luxury that will become unaffordable (so what will happen to all the student accommodation, you might very well ask? Good question...).
The traditional university experience - where teenagers go off hundreds of miles away, requiring long train journeys or car trips to visit home - does not mesh with the "you will stay in your district and be happy" social planning, nor are the ultra-sociable years of university compatible with the WEF's goals to have everyone sitting alone in their rooms staring at a screen all day.
It has long been pointed out that university is a rip-off these days, with the internet meaning students can watch experts giving lectures for free on YouTube (something they got very used to in lockdown). So why fork out a fortune to see it in person, 300 miles away from their home?
Even without the evil machinations of Klaus and co, the traditional university model isn't really sustainable any more, and for precisely this reason - that most of what universities offer can now be done online - and certainly not when it's so exorbitantly expensive (the average student debt upon completion of their course is over £45,000). Savvy institutions are soon going to realise they can cut costs and attract more students with lower fees, by doing everything online, and some already are - such as my alma mater SUNY Potsdam, which is now offering its Politics degree entirely online.
Two generations of my family taught at university and I grew up on a university campus, so I have a bit of insider intel here... Universities are currently in the process of rather ruthlessly reducing their staff numbers - merging job roles and issuing redundancies all over the place - in what is obvious preparation for an imminent future where the institutions will have far less students.
Tellingly, one particular enclave of university services that is collapsing (in a controlled demolition) is their counselling services. Qualified and experienced counsellors are being axed, and replaced with NHS "mental health nurses". This is because universities are no longer concerned with supporting otherwise well-functioning students to gain skills to improve their mental health - they only care about preventing suicides, because these look bad for the universities' PR.
The trajectory for student mental health has been on a steady downward trajectory since the '90s (something I can confirm personally: I grew up on the Keele University campus and used to socialise with students in my teens - the way the students were then, and how they are now... the transformation is astonishing. They might as well be a different species. More on that here). Therefore, without proper support from qualified counsellors - the demand for which has soared at universities in recent years - many more students will crash out of their courses.
So, these changes - Sunak's Maths mandate and the axing of key university support services, along with imminent axing of "useless" degrees - are all part of the controlled demolition of the university sector, to move it all online, in line with WEF "sustainability" goals regarding reducing travel, movement, and socialising.
While many critics (including "non-conspiratorial" ones! Imagine...) have correctly gauged the ramifications for teenagers of making Maths compulsory to 18, I do not in fact think they are the group most disadvantaged by this change. Although it's wholly wrong that their prospects should be limited in this way, the reality, as discussed earlier, is that pursuing many/most non-STEM subjects to degree level doesn't lead to enhanced prospects for most - it leads to massive debts and 'woke' martyr status.
So having this path blocked may end up being a blessing in disguise for many. Not so, however, for the tens of thousands of people employed by the university sector. Universities are massive employers, and in many disadvantaged areas (such as where I am from), the major employer in the locality. Dramatically contracting, or axing these institutions altogether, is going to utterly decimate the economic landscapes that surround them, as well as devastating the prospects of many who work within academia. (Cue: even more clamour for UBI, which all left-wingers - as nearly all academics are - love anyway.)
It is a well-known cultural trope that academics often don't function well "in the real world", academia being such a niche and specialist environment. Now more than ever, universities have become "bubbles" that don't reflect wider society, and outside of their cossetted walls, many of their staff would face immense struggle - financially, obviously, if they lose their jobs, but in adjusting to life outside of the Truman Show-style mirage of university life, too.
We know from the newspeak lexicon developed in lockdown that the ruling classes are looking to ruthlessly divide us into "essential" and "non-essential" classes. Going by WEF definitions, there's nothing "essential" about a university lecturer, since everything they do can be done online (as we saw in lockdown when all universities went digital), and in the not too distant future, by robots, who are already predicted to soon replace school teachers.
I have observed that it is a key part of the ruling classes modus operandi to cynically build people up - flatter their vanity, gush over them, direct lots of social sycophancy towards them - and then take great pleasure in (usually very abruptly) tearing them down. What happened to Germaine Greer is a particularly stark and illustrative example. For decades, she was the celebrated darling of the left-wing and could do no wrong: a high-profile media star across the globe, and then, very suddenly, the rug was pulled from under her, she was labelled a bigot and an oppressor, and definitively cancelled.
This same thing is going to be done to the denizens of academia, at least to those who populate the "soft" and highly politicised subjects (basically, most of the arts, humanities, and social sciences). The establishment groomed them by flattering their egos and telling them they were special, in order to be able to manipulate them. They fell for the flattery and believed their own confected good press, and thus became easily controllable assets who will promote whatever the "latest thing" is (Brexit, lockdown, masks, vaccines, Ukraine) uncritically for their masters, not realising they are simply being used, and that, when their usefulness has expired, they will promptly be thrown to the wolves, which is now about to happen.
Please recall what happened to university lecturers in (predictive programming) The Handmaid's Tale. I think this was highly symbolic - while I do not believe the government is actually going to engage in public hanging of university staff as happens in the TV programme, what is depicted shows that, as a culture makes the dramatic, engineered shift from liberalism to conservatism (as ours is doing), universities - at least certain departments - are immediately targeted for destruction.
I appreciate that going from "studying Maths post 16" to "hanging university lecturers" may seem quite a leap of logic... but please remember that "two weeks to flatten the curve" soon became "worldwide global communism and mass genocide", so...
I don't think it's the world's worst tragedy that the university bubble is collapsing, for the reasons detailed in this article, but I do think what is really behind this, and why, is worth being acutely aware of. The reality is that Rishi Sunak does not care if your teenager is adequately numerate, and in an acute cost of living crisis, where vulnerable people can't heat their homes, children don't have enough to eat, and pensioners are lying for agony for hours in A&E, making surly 16-year-olds do more sums seems a really strange thing to focus on... Trivial, almost.
But as with everything the ruling classes do, of course it isn't. It is in fact, a very complex equation (and the 'C' I finally achieved in GCSE Maths a decade after leaving school did very little to help me work that out...).
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