Just the line
"Meanwhile old Blighty, not to be outdone, has also revealed new plans to stem the similar decline" caused me to hold my head in my hands and think "oh joy, what've we come up with this time?". My suspicions were then confirmed.
@Mark_T: And what should we do about it? I mean it's all well and good to say "anything that can be done in China will be done in China" but how do we drag people back to our country's products and services?
Paying Engineers properly would be a good start, followed by limiting who can call themselves an "engineer" to at least those with a degree, if not to those with a professional qualification (chartership etc). Stop it being a catch-all term and replace that with "technician" or a similar term. Keep Engineer for those who've worked for the name (like we do with Doctors).
The British used to have a great Engineering heritage. We now have the Homer Simpson philosophy of "if it's hard to do, it's not worth doing" and the impression that Engineering's hard and boring.
What we should do is get rid of a lot of the pure theory, book-based learning and give pupils experience of real-world principles in a real-world environment. I didn't "get" the principle of moments before it was related to a see-saw. Bouyancy calculations weren't the easiest of things until I got a practical demonstration and a decent explaination of Archimedes Principle. An explaination of "The Bends" that divers suffer by way of an over-fizzed bottle of Coke really drove home what it was doing to you.
We pick things up faster with real-world frames of reference, so giving the Engineers of the future more experience of what they're learning would mean they could grasp it faster and learn more AND stop making schoolboy errors due to a lack of understanding.
WooYaay for the Germans trying to get kids more interested in Engineering. Lets hope they do it properly!