Stories + Views
Squealer explains the draft Programmes of Study to the animals…
“Fellow animals!” cried Squealer, “Do not imagine that Napoleon has drafted these Programmes of Study because he does not trust you. It is because he has given you freedom to opt out of a centralised curriculum that he felt he must publish guidance so you might better decide which routes to take. He has worked tirelessly on your behalf searching the globe for evidence that underpins his ideas. He has looked at Singapore, Alberta, Massachusetts…”
Squealer was interrupted by the sheep bleating, “Maaa-saaa-chooo-setts! Maaa-saaa-chooo-setts!” He quickly silenced them with a single wave of his trotter.
“Napoleon has investigated the best ways to educate young animals. They must learn synthetic phonics; chant tables and recite poetry.”
He paused as the animals nodded. But Boxer was puzzled. He believed he had already heard young animals practising letter sounds although he wasn’t sure the sounds they made were actual words. He also thought he’d heard lambs chanting tables, “Two legs bad! Four legs good!” And hadn’t he tried to join in their faltering recitation of “Friend of the fatherless! Fountain of happiness! Lord of the swill-bucket!”? He concluded it must have been his imagination. If Napoleon said it wasn’t happening but must do so in the future then Boxer would agree. Napoleon was always right.
In a voice barely above a whisper, Squealer continued. “My fellow animals. Napoleon has shown great restraint. It would have been easy to dictate what should be in the guidance. But he set up a committee to guide him. Unfortunately the advice clashed with his high ideals. Do not suppose that he wished to interfere but he could not allow the committee to make the wrong decisions. He has, therefore, shown resolve and leadership. He has ignored the suggestions of these so-called experts and, with great reluctance, has drafted the guidance himself.”
Squealer scanned the audience looking every animal in the eye. “My friends!” he continued, “Please remember these rules are for guidance only – no animal will be forced to follow them. You will have your chance to air your views in the debate. In the meantime, it is important that teaching should be tested with the utmost rigour. For this reason Napoleon has decreed that the dogs will inspect every classroom. Any class that fails will be forced to become an academy and its inadequate senior management, those enemies of promise happy with failure, will be replaced by teams specially chosen by Napoleon himself.”
This statement was greeted with wild cheers. Squealer seemed to swell, “Standards must rise!” he cried, “All animals must be above average!”
The refrain was taken up by the assembled crowd, “All animals must be above average!” In the tumult they did not see Squealer whisper behind his trotter, “But some animals will be more above average than others.”
(Inspired by George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”)