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PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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46 of 51  Tue 13th Oct 2020 12:15pm  
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Hi all, How the times have changed from the previous post, where we were coming out of lockdown. I've had a gripe at our government on the pandemic thread already today, but there's another side to it. FOLK! The levels of illiteracy in the UK, currently at more than 16%, are amongst the worst in the developed world. This isn't a race or ethnic thing either I believe, as poor numeracy is trailing along in the same fashion. Numbers are an international symbol of understanding. The year that I completed school, UK illiteracy was around 11%. So, as a nation, our level of understanding, our ability to reason & comprehend is now worse than since the thirties.
Sorry state (non-Cov)
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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47 of 51  Tue 13th Oct 2020 12:57pm  
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Following on, I've no reason to doubt the scenario of poor levels of illiteracy & numeracy. In 2008, the year of the national free bus pass introduction, I was invited to take part in a usage trial, organised by our local radio. They picked various age groups for a comparison. I was gobsmacked to see just how many folk from the pre-retirement age groups had no ability to read a timetable, only to discover that some couldn't read anything. In fact, the retirement groups did quite well.
Sorry state (non-Cov)
Helen F
Warrington
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48 of 51  Tue 13th Oct 2020 1:19pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2332

Schools now include too many subjects and it leads to dilution of the core. I won't call them the 3 Rs because they're actually the RWAs. Expression is too highly valued over facts. Even in my day the basic subjects were becoming less important, which is partly why I don't know all my times tables, my punctuation is terrible and my spelling is attroshus... atrow... bad.
Sorry state (non-Cov)
PhilipInCoventry
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49 of 51  Tue 13th Oct 2020 1:28pm  
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Hi Helen, On paper, I had what appears to be a good education, but in all honesty, the "wanting to learn" syndrome came from home. That for me was the most important ingredient. I was raised in a terraced house in Sewall Highway, not Buckingham Palace, but it was home sweet home, a safe house.
Sorry state (non-Cov)
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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50 of 51  Wed 14th Oct 2020 10:19am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:771

This comes as no surprise to me. I have seen a steady dumbing down, over many years, in schools, colleges and universities. A senior professor at a Coventry university called a stink, a few year ago, when she stated, in the press, that “degrees today are little better than A-levels when I was at school”. We stopped taking on “work experience” pupils years ago as it was in most cases a complete waste of time. Many pupils did not want to bother attending, were not interested, got bored, messed about and several just stopped turning up. One 15-year-old lad could not do single-digit arithmetic (e.g. add 4 and 7) in his head. When questioned, he told me that in class he would use a calculator to add 4 and 7. He was not joking. I later tried to explain the difference between linear and logarithmic responses. He looked dumbfounded. We did logarithms aged 12. I later talked to a friend, a maths teacher, who confirmed that they would not do logs that early on. My response was “so you’re telling me they don’t teach kids maths in schools any more”. It’s the same with colleges. They give very poor value for money on supposed technical courses. As a colleague said to a younger member of staff “you’ve now got your HNC with distinctions in most modules, but after 4 years you still don’t know the basics”. Instead of focusing on technical knowledge, colleges are obsessed with wasting time on things like PLTS, ERR, SMART, NVQs, log books, form-filling, termly progress meetings with a college staff member… PLTS = personal learning and thinking skills; this means having more than two cells in your brain, and being able to spell your name correctly. ERR = employee’s rights and regulations (or something like that); nothing technical. I’ve just read some reports from a college, written by a staff member. The spelling, grammar and punctuation were appalling. And this was from an English person born over here, not someone whose mother tongue is a different language. Little wonder that one of our young fellows, having just completed a four-year course (HNC), didn’t know what a joule was (I was hoping he’d say that it was the SI unit of energy, a watt-second), but he said “is it the speed of light?” Sad to say, it’s a self-fulfilling mechanism. As schools dumb down, the education given to the pupils gets dumbed down. And where do future generations of teachers and lecturers come from?
Sorry state (non-Cov)
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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51 of 51  Wed 14th Oct 2020 12:48pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:771

Another sad thing, the Times reported a couple of days ago, is the theft of lead from church roofs all over the country. It is causing damage amounting to tens of thousands of pounds; not just the cost of the lead, but the damage done by rain leaking in. Organs have been written off, and huge areas of plaster have come down. This comes at a time when church attendance continues to fall in the UK, year on year, according to another report yesterday. These historic buildings do not have the cash for repairs. This type of theft is at an all-time high. A police spokesperson said that in days of old, it was just the odd bit of guttering or pipe that was nicked, by a lone person, an opportunist. Nowadays, a whole roof's lead disappears overnight, taken by a gang of professional thieves, who very often originate from a land east of England. Until the present decade, one could drive into a scrap metal merchant's yard, and exchange metal for cash in hand, no questions asked. Then the politicians decided they would solve the problem of metal theft by making it difficult to exchange for cash: a new law making it compulsory to pre-book a visit to the scrappy, compulsory ID such as a passport, utility bills, proof of address and all that nonsense. That would stamp out metal theft overnight, they thought. I was on holiday a couple of year ago, and got talking to a man who was in the metal recovery business. I asked him about the new laws, and he said it wouldn't make a scrap (no pun) of difference, as there were "ways around it". As usual, the politicians, most of whom do not live in the real world, tinker around the edges of a problem.
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