The Art of Deep Thought – a slight Hitch?

Another Michael Gove-related post this weekend I’m afraid. Though if you think I’ve got it in for nice Mr Gove, try listening to the ‘Now Show’ on Radio 4, where he is cast as a evil ventriloquist’s dummy.

Anyway, it seems like Mr ‘Gottle O’Geer’ Gove has got his sums wrong again.

You’d think that Cambridge University, one half, or 50%, of the holy grail of academia, would be delighted by the prospect of a return to more rigorous Maths A levels, but instead their admissions manager has said that “AS-levels were an “invaluable indicator of progress”, and that “the exams helped universities choose the best students and had widened participation by giving bright students from less privileged backgrounds the confidence to apply for top universities”. At the same time, the chair of ACME* warns that.. ‘making A-level maths harder could result in a drop in the number of students taking the subject’ and ‘would again see university mathematics departments closing as a result’. (*ACME stands for the ‘Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education’. I wonder if there is a similar body for Numeracy Education?)

But of most interest is Mr Gove’s desire to scrap modular A levels in order to ‘revive the art of deep thought‘. Now of course as everyone else knows, Deep Thought is a computer that was created by the pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings (whose three dimensional protrusions into our universe are ordinary white mice) to come up with the Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, which of course is 42, and suggests that the real problem was that ‘you’ve never actually known what the question was‘. So now it turns out that perhaps Mr Gove sees himself as a hyper-intelligent white mouse spending tax-payers money on another poorly specified IT project doomed to failure?

Even more unfortunately for him though, it turns out that in a radio interview, Douglas Adams once explained that the name of ‘Deep Thought’ was in fact a joke based on the title of a 1972 pornographic movie, entitled ‘Deep Throat’. So it seems we have Mr Gove to thank for his hidden desire to revive the ‘art of deep throat’…. quite unsuitable for students under the age of 18 though.

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