BUSINESS leaders railed against the UK’s lacklustre education system yesterday, as international rankings showed that Britain is slipping behind many other countries.
The UK did not make the top 20 list for mathematics, science or reading, according to the OECD’s latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), with the points awarded to UK students stuck at 2006 and 2009 levels despite a significant increase in education spend.
“The OECD report represents a wake-up call,” said WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell. “It doesn’t appear from their data that we’re under-investing in education, but the return on investment is poorer.”
The Institute of Directors, British Chambers of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses all weighed in to warn that the UK’s education system could drag on the country’s prosperity.
And Luke Johnson, the serial entrepreneur who recently sold his stake in Giraffe to Tesco, warned the UK’s economic success was dependent on good schools. “The rest of the world is doing better – globalisation means other countries catching up, and to compete we have to be better educated,” he said. “Students need to be employable, they need skills for the workplace.”