Mindworks’ Weblog

Thinking Matters

English Not Worst At Everything Shock

Posted by Andrew Cooper on December 10, 2008

I’m never really sure why the English have a reputation for arrogance.  Perhaps it’s a hangover from the days in which we set out from the small island we share with the Scots and Welsh and planted our flag on most of the continents we came across.  That’s arrogant.

These days things are rather different.  We are, for example, conditioned to believe that we’ll never win any major sporting contest (particularly in the sport in question happens to be one we invented) and that pretty much everything else here in England is awful.  Our tendency to grumble, reinforced by the determination of the media to seek out everything that’s bad and give it as much publicity as possible, probably doesn’t help.  And when we’re not grumbling we’re apologising.

So, conditioned as I am to believe that everything about England is either as bad as it could possibly be or is steadily getting worse, I was delighted to spot this news item yesterday.  Yes that’s right.  If you believe the numbers, English students are in the global top ten ranking for maths and science (at least as measured at ages 10 and 14).  If there’s one ranking in which I’d want us to do well, this is it.   Makes me proud  – in a quietly pleased, not-at-all arrogant and rather apologetic way – to be English.

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