education

On Being Truly Educated

Chomsky on what being truly educated means. Well worth 3 minutes of your time.

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CURSING ABOUT CURSIVE

The picture below is of cursive writing. Does anyone remember doing this at school? Do they still do it?.

I seem to remember an inordinate amount of time being spent on learning this when I was at school and I didn’t see the point then either. I understand that it can be important to develop the muscles needed for handwriting and so on but I never saw why it was important to write in exactly this way or why it would make my teacher instantly furious if we got it wrong.

I remember thinking that if it can be read it is good handwriting and if it can’t then it isn’t and that should be the end of it. However, it continued…hour after hour with us being forced to conform to this unnecessary standard.

Needless to say, it was eventually drummed into us but immediately after I changed teacher I stopped writing in this way.

OH LORD!

It is not supposed to be this way at all. Typically it is other people that laugh at Americans for being stupid.

Even some of the Universities seem somewhat ridiculous over there, with people doing courses in such things as Klingon, Madonna studies and that business with a zoologist called Noah and the obvious fact that the earth is only 6000 years old.

However, British students will now be able to get qualifications from McDonalds.

McDonald’s has won approval to offer courses which could form part of a qualification at the standard of A-levels or advanced Diplomas.

Further…

Universities secretary John Denham said it was an important step towards ending the old divisions between company training schemes and national qualifications.

Mr Denham, there is a good reason for keeping those two things separate and that is that the companies are likely to include only company specific skills in their courses. Add to this the fact that any information that is uncomfortable for the company is unlikely to make it into the course. If you want to produce brainless little corporate toadies then this is the way to go. Come to think of it, that is exactly what you want to produce isn’t it?

There are 2 main issues here. One is of the purposes of formal education. Should it simply be a road into employment with ‘transferable skills’ as the only goal or should independent critical thinking be the goal?

I don’t think it will be to hard to guess which camp I am in.

The other issue here is that education is one of the last government funded sectors. Almost everything else has been sold off and the ever ravenous capital beast has been licking its lips and looking toward the schools and universities for a long time. In the service of the beast the government is giving away little appetizers before the big feast.

In the guardian

John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, called the decision a “significant milestone on the road to reforming qualifications so that they better reflect the skills and competencies employers and employees need”.

Need for what? More profits and more functionality? What about independent critical thinking?
Fortunately the universities can still choose if they want to accept the ‘McQualifications’ as real. If they have any brains…

Finally, on the BBC site there is a online poll and 2 thirds of people seem to be against McDonalds and the other companies involved in the this (flybe, Network Rail) being allowed to do the courses.

They probably didn’t go to McDonalds university.