This is a horrifying development – from The Guardian Comment is Free:
For A-level students in the UK, there is only one exam board that runs a real philosophy course. And that’s about to be changed into yet another religious education course.
For the last nine years, I have taught the AQA’s A-level philosophy course. It’s a good course, and the only one to represent the breadth of philosophy as a discipline in its own right. So I was somewhat surprised to learn that the AQA have this week, without warning or consultation, published a completely new draft syllabus, which is now just waiting to be rubber-stamped by Ofqual.
The new specification completely excludes the previous options to study aesthetics, free will, all European philosophy since Kant, and – most significantly – political philosophy. This will be all replaced with a compulsory philosophy of religion topic, which will make up 50% of the AS course.
And that’s not even all, or even the worst. The new specification also reduces the how of philosophy to focus on the what. The how is the important part!
The exam board will also reduce the marks given for students’ ability to critique and construct arguments, and more marks will be given for simply knowing the theories involved. Essentially, where young philosophers were previously rewarded for being able to think for themselves and question the role of government, the new course can only be passed by students who can regurgitate classic defences of the existence and perfection of God.
Appalling. Let’s hope the secular philosophers can intervene and fix this mess.