Tuesday, 17 April 2018

sending british students to an 'indian summer school'

A very popular reality TV series has just finished:
Indian Summer School - All 4



'I flunked my GCSEs - so Channel 4 sent me to India for five months to re-sit them' - Hull Daily Mail

It's more about making TV programmes than helping young people get through exams:


Indian Summer School review – five terrible teens are sent to India’s equivalent of Eton

3/5stars
It’s really about tossing some lazy kids way out of their comfort zone and hoping for tantrums, tears and entertaining bad behaviour
Five go to an Indian boarding school: (from left) Alfie, Ethan, Harry, Jake and Jack
 Five go to an Indian boarding school: (from left) Alfie, Ethan, Harry, Jake and Jack. Photograph: Channel 4

It is not a new idea – send a bunch of badly behaved, underperforming kids somewhere different to try to get them to pull up their socks. Brat CampJamie’s Dream SchoolThe World’s Strictest ParentsThat’ll Teach ’Em, they have all tried it. In this one, five delinquent Brits are sent to the Doon School in Dehradun, often called India’s Eton, to get some GCSEs. At the moment, they have one between them – 18-year-old Jack’s C in maths. Which is more than they have in terms of ambition, focus, belief, motivation and application.
The show attempts to give itself credibility by being inspired by a couple of stats: the worst performing group in British education is white working-class boys, and they perform better in ethnically diverse classrooms. But it is really about tossing a bunch of lazy teens way out of their comfort zone, and hoping for amusing cultural differences, tears, tantrums, entertaining bad behaviour and maybe some positive results as well. And it pretty much delivers on all of the above.
They will be in for a considerable number of cultural shocks, says 16-year-old Doon boy Amal. The shocks start on the way from the airport – crazy traffic, cows in the road, a man with pebbles on his head. Then, at the school, there is no loo paper and there is snitching. Jake has brought a bottle of rum and Kanav grasses him up. Jake’s in trouble, already. And in a reading comprehension test, to the question “What helps Maggie get to sleep?” Jake writes: “Xanax and pint”. Ha, quite funny … No! Not funny. Go and see the head teacher now, Jake.
Seventeen-year-old Ethan from south Wales, who will be transitioning when he is a bit older, has not been to any school for two years. The strict rules, traditional values and respect for teachers at the Doon School don’t sit easily with him. The British headteacher, Matthew Raggett, allows him to skip the mandatory short back and sides, accepting that long hair is part of Ethan, but the nail extensions have to go. And it is not long before Ethan is skipping classes and threatening to storm off.
It’s not all bad though. Alfie, 17, gets into a bit of Hindi. Jack does well in Mrs Bhattacharya’s English classes. He needs English GCSE to pursue his dream of being a chef. Jake does well at pottery. There might be some positive results, journeys, even a few GCSEs at the end of this.
Obviously not every English kid who is doing badly can swan off to an elite and very expensive Indian boarding school: this is an experiment rather than any kind of solution, but there might be some lessons learned along the way. Plus, it is amusing TV, taps into its (our) obsession with school, class and race. And, of course, it’s not all down to school – what’s going on at home is quite important, too. There is a telling moment when Harry, 17, is on the phone to his mum, and he is telling her it is going well, the lessons are proper good. But she is straight in asking if he’s behaving himself. She finds out about the rum incident with Jake and starts yelling at Harry: it’s all negative, no encouragement.
Here is a new TV idea: Parents’ School. It doesn’t even have to be in India. I wouldn’t just watch it, I’d go.
Indian Summer School review – five terrible teens are sent to India’s equivalent of Eton | Television & radio | The Guardian

The Telegraph doesn't think much better of the programme:
Indian Summer School review –a contrived and meaningless social experiment

The Mirror loves it:
Indian Summer School viewers dismayed as TWO boys go home in final episode - and none pass their final exams - Mirror Online
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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

the state of language and public debate

It's all a question of how you 'frame' your language:
Jay Doubleyou: register
Jay Doubleyou: the language of brexit
Jay Doubleyou: the psychology of lies and why we fall for them
Jay Doubleyou: information wars
Jay Doubleyou: facts don't matter!

The BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth returns to look at these things:

Words Apart

Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth returns with a special programme in which Michael Rosen and guests Marina Warner and Barry Smith discuss the state of language and public debate.

With the rise of the internet there is more political discussion than ever. Yet this torrent of words seems to carry less understanding than ever. 

This has been attributed to many causes. Some say it is the anonymous nature of internet discussions, or the increasing disparity between rich and poor, or even the efficacy with which media (and propaganda) organisations can affect public opinion. 

But possibly the problem lies in language itself. Traditionally, political language has been a shared endeavour through which we express our differences. 

Perhaps now even the language itself has become partisan - words carry profoundly different meanings for different people and the shared understand that public debate relies on is much reduced. 

Two people can share a word - say government or sovereignty - but if the frame of reference for what that word means has become radically different it's hard to find the common ground on which meaningful debate can happen. 

So Michael Rosen and his guests are looking at the state of current political and public debate, delving into the philosophy of language and seeing how words get their meaning in the minds of their users. 

Perhaps, on top of all our other attendant crises, we can claim to be living through a crisis of language.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

one year to go before brexit

From this week's Guardian:


11 Brexit promises the government quietly dropped

Leaving aside the £350m for the NHS, Brexit has promised quick and easy trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world, an end to ECJ jurisdiction and free movement, and British control of North Sea fishing. None of this has come to pass. Here are 11 key abandoned claims


1
Promise
Brexit will be easy, and have no downsides
Brexit will be easy, and have no downsides
 There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside
David Davis
10 October 2016
 The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want
Michael Gove
9 April 2016
 Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards
John Redwood
July 17 2016
 The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history
Liam Fox
20 July 2017
Reality
David Davis now says: ‘Nobody has ever pretended this will be easy. I have always said this negotiation will be tough, complex and at times confrontational’
2
Promise
Trade talks would take place in parallel with divorce talks
Trade talks would take place in parallel with divorce talks
 How on earth do you resolve the issue of the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless you know what our general borders policy is, what the customs agreement is, what our trade agreement is? It’s wholly illogical … That’ll be the row of the summer
David Davis
14 May 2017
 Most of the EU states are very sympathetic to our view
David Davis
15 May 2017
 We have to establish the ground rules. The first crisis or argument is is going to be over the question of sequencing
David Davis
21 May 2017
Reality
Davis caved in on the first day of talks on 19 June 2017
3
Promise
The UK did not need a transition deal and would not be subject to EU rules or budgets during one
The UK did not need a transition deal and would not be subject to EU rules or budgets during one
 We're not really interested in a transition deal, but we'll consider one to be kind to the EU
David Davis
15 November 2016
 The idea that we’ll do a transitional arrangement where you’re still in, paying money, still with free movement of people – that we’ll do the long-term deal in slow motion … That is plainly not what we’re after
David Davis
15 March 2016
 We made it clear that control of our own borders was one of the elements we wanted in the referendum, and unregulated free movement [during transition] would seem to me not to keep faith with that decision
Liam Fox
30 July 2016
Reality
The UK will have to abide by all EU rules and regulations including those agreed by members states during the 21-month transition
4
Promise
The transition serves merely to implement the final trade deal, which would be agreed by Brexit day
The transition serves merely to implement the final trade deal, which would be agreed by Brexit day
 I believe that we can get a free trade and customs agreement concluded before March 2019
David Davis
18 January 2017
 The point of the implementation period is to put in place the practical changes necessary to move to the future partnership, and for that you need to know what the future partnership is going to be
Theresa May
23 October 2017
Reality
The transition period will be used to negotiate (as much as possible) of the future relationship, not to implement a relationship that is already agreed
Many EU capitals believe even the 21-month transition period will not be anywhere near long enough to conclude a comprehensive free trade agreement and will have to be extended.
5
Promise
The transition would be short but open-ended
The transition would be short but open-ended
 The period’s duration should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin the future partnership
Government transition paper
21 February 2018
 These considerations point to an implementation period of around two years
Theresa May
22 September 2017
Reality
The period is fixed at 21 months, with no easy way to extend it
This merely postpones the regulatory cliff edge business is desperate to avoid until December 2020. Even this measure of stability is uncertain, since the transition period could be rescinded if there is not wider agreement this autumn.
6
Promise
The UK would owe no money to the EU after it left in March 2019
The UK would owe no money to the EU after it left in March 2019
 The last time we went through line by line and challenged quite a lot of the legal basis of these things, and we'll continue to do that … [Of rumours of a £40bn bill:] They sort of made that up
David Davis
25 September 2017
 Because we will no longer be members of the single market, we will not be required to pay huge sums into the EU budget
Theresa May
17 January 2017
 The sums I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate and I think that ‘go whistle’ is an entirely appropriate expression
Boris Johnson
11 July 2017
Reality
UK told EU in November 2017 that it was ready to honour its share of all financial commitments made while it was a member of the bloc, estimated at €40bn to €45bn, through the transition period
It has since become clear payments will continue until about 2064, and indefinitely if the UK wants to continue to be part of EU agencies and programmes.
7
Promise
A raft of new trade deals would be ready on 29 March 2019
A raft of new trade deals would be ready on 29 March 2019
 Within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU … The new trade agreements will come into force at the point of exit, but they will be fully negotiated
David Davis
14 July 2016
Reality
Britain has won the right to negotiate deals with third countries during the transition period (not before) but they cannot be implemented until after December 2020
New deals will anyway take a long time to negotiate, especially since few countries are likely to want to sign them until they know the state of the UK’s final relationship with the EU. And while the EU will ask third countries with which it has trade deals to keep Britain in them, there is no certainty they will.
8
Promise
A high-tech customs solution would make frictionless borders simple
A high-tech customs solution would make frictionless borders simple
 The UK is currently implementing a new customs declaration service, which will replace the existing HMRC customs system. This is a high-priority project within government and HMRC is on track to deliver by January 2019
Department for Exiting the EU
15 August 2017
 I am confident that using the most up-to-date technology, we can get a non-visible border operational along the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland
David Davis
5 September 2017
Reality
Theresa May now concedes customs arrangements are difficult and will take time to set up
May told the Commons liaison committee on 27 March 2018: "I think it is fair to say that, as we get into the detail and as we look at these arrangements, then what becomes clear is that sometimes the timetables that have originally been set are not the timetables that are necessary when you actually start to look at the detail and when you delve into what it really is that you want to be able to achieve."
9
Promise
Free movement would come to an end on 29 March 2019; any EU citizens arriving after that date would be subject to a different immigration regime
Free movement would come to an end on 29 March 2019; any EU citizens arriving after that date would be subject to a different immigration regime
 It is a simple matter of fact that the four key principles of the European Union include free movement – we won’t be a member of the European Union when we leave
Brandon Lewis
27 July 2017
 Free movement will end in March 2019
Government spokesperson
July 31 2017
 I’m clear that there is a difference between those people who come prior to us leaving and those who will come when they know the UK is no longer a member
Theresa May
1 February 2017
Reality
Free movement continues, the only difference being a registration system for newcomers
Even May's commitment that arrivals after Brexit day would be treated differently was abandoned in the negotiations. EU citizens arriving in Britain before the end of the transition period will be treated as before.
10
Promise
There would be no role for the European court of justice in Britain after Brexit day
There would be no role for the European court of justice in Britain after Brexit day
 The simple truth is we are leaving. We are going to be outside the reach of the European court
David Davis
14 May 2017
 The authority of EU law in this country has ended forever … We are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the ECJ. That’s not going to happen
Theresa May
5 October 2016
Reality
The ECJ will have full jurisdiction during the transition period and the ECJ interpretation of relevant civil rights laws are likely to hold thereafter
In addition, the transition agreement makes clear that Britain will be “consulted” but is expected to ensure the “proper implementation and application” of all new draft EU rules and regulations during transition.
11
Promise
Britain will take back control of its fisheries after Brexit
Britain will take back control of its fisheries after Brexit
 Leaving the EU means we will take back full control of our territorial waters and for the first time in 50 years will be able to grant fishing access for other countries on our terms
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3 August 2017
 The UK will regain control over our domestic fisheries management rules and access to our waters
Theresa May
3 March 2017
Reality
The EU will have continued access to UK fishing waters throughout the transition period and has demanded reciprocal access afterwards too as a condition of any future trade deal

11 Brexit promises the government quietly dropped | Politics | The Guardian