So, 58 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of October 19th 1960.
The story continues:
In the USA, a programme to revolutionise the teaching o physics is now becoming established, thanks to the work of a committee initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The committee first prepared a syllabus demonstrating that physics is an instrument of contemporary science and not just sterile facts and figures. In the course of doing this, a great deal of the traditional school syllabus was jettisoned.
In the new syllabus the students are encouraged to think rather than just substitute figures in a formula. Teaching aids such as films and television are widely used.
These changes enable so much time to be saved that a one-year course given between the ages of 15 and 17 should be enough for an elementary understanding of physics, not only to those whose future interests will lie elsewhere, but also to future specialists.
In this country there has been some thought on similar lines. The Science Masters Association has strongly recommended a complete reappraisal of the whole structure of science teaching from the age of 11.
The Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools has strongly advocated more science teaching in preparatory schools.
School inspectors have recom mended to the Ministry of Education the introduction of more science in primary schools.
Now we have the Report of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy 1959/1960 also suggesting the same thing.
This too points out that science syllabuses are overloaded with facts and are unimaginative, partly because new material is added without removing the old.
“It has been suggested,” the Report says, “that up to 20 to 25 per cent of the content of the curricula in physics, chemistry and biology could be removed without any harm and indeed with benefit. Mathematics curricula are equally in need of review.
There is a warning that specialisation in schools has been carried too far due to the requirements of scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge . Schools and universities must get together quickly to avoid this, the Report adds.