The government has unveiled plans for a radical overhaul of the British schools system. Under new proposals, the national curriculum will be replaced by a new syllabus based entirely on the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism.
Instead of structured classes, children will be encouraged to consider kōan, which are short parables that cannot be understood by the rational mind. They will also spend three hours a day performing zazen, which is sitting meditation. GCSEs will be abolished altogether, since the end of full time education will be marked instead by a sudden flash of inexpressible enlightenment.
It isn’t clear how this will affect university admissions. UCAS has yet to comment. Oxford and Cambridge were quick to clarify their own position, warning that candidates were unlikely to be accepted unless they had totally transcended the sphere of infinite consciousness (excluding General Studies).
Since the announcement, critics have called the syllabus “a step in the wrong direction,” citing the English Baccalaureate as a better model for secondary education. Under the new scheme, instead of learning times tables, children are more likely to rake swirly patterns in a sandpit, or smile in wonderment at a flower.
Predictably, sharp criticism has also come from the Rinzai school of Zen, which regards the Sōtō school as too populist.
In either case, response to the proposals has been underwhelming, insofar as they were greeted by the sound of just one hand clapping.