The aspects of education
If you go to the search facility in this blog, and type ‘ caining’, you will see a number of items that I have written concerning corporal punishment in schools by teachers and prefects, over the years. You will discover that some of the teachers behaved in a disgustingly criminal manner, which has ultimately brought about the situation of today, where corporal punishment is anathema both in school and the home. My wife, a secondary school teacher, would come home in recent years, and tell me of some young teacher who was crying because she could not control a class. If you read what I said in these other items you will find that I was beaten more often than most, for less than most, and it had no effect on my psyche. I was caned at school caned at home, and took it as part of my existence. There were times when I resented it, receiving it from boys only a few years older than myself, but with the authority to do so.
On a broader aspect, watching my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up, I have been able to assess the increasing rate of assimilation that each generation has been capable of. Part of this is because the quality of the technology that surrounded them was increasing at a fast rate, and they took this revolution in their stride. However, by the same token, this increase in technology has had the reverse effect as well, it has made entertainment more readily available at the touch of a switch, with the result that the children today are more prone, in a high proportion, to use the electronic advances in preference to the more simple pleasures that I knew. This I believe is a retrogressive aspect which requires national consideration, if we are to maintain the physical fitness that we enjoyed from the 20s to 60s.
There is another reverse effect engendered by the way in which children have become more sophisticated, and capable, and inconsequence demand more from life. The effect is that they expect to go to university as of right, when in fact they would be better off being articled or apprenticed, in some way of work, as so much of the academically trained, are finding it increasingly difficult to find work, and thus a loss to the nation of a failed potential. There is a level of snobbery that has crept into people’s concept of what they want for themselves and their children. With the result we are employing foreigners to do the work that these people feel is beneath them. This attitude is not helping our economy, or the level of employment, when you see so much also being sent abroad in one form or another. A typical example is the fact that so many call centres are now established in the subcontinent, with the result that firstly, the average English speaking person finds it difficult to carry on a conversation, and also their personal information is now being leaked abroad, with the result that scams concerning bank accounts are now becoming a national problem.
I have always believed that education did two things, one was to give one a groundwork from which one could understand and learn more about different subjects. The second thing that education does, is to teach one where to find the knowledge that he needs, and this is where I think the educational system needs its own revision. People are having to enter into examinations which require knowledge of complicated equations, or similar information. As this information under normal circumstances is readily available, I believe that it should be readily available in the examination room. At the risk of telling you something that you already read, I want to explain how we, instructors in the Royal Navy of highly technical material, set our exams. We allowed the examinees to take in anything that was written that they wished, but they were not allowed to talk during the examination. We then, knowing those who were likely to do well, took their papers, marked them, gave the best man or woman a mark of 95, and then we were able, having marked all the papers, to grade the rest proportionately. These people like anyone else in any form of employment will be able to research anything they needed in future life, and forcing them to remember material which was basic, but essential, and complicated like formulae, at a time when they were under the maximum stress, is unnecessary. The system always seemed logical and I never understood why it was not implemented across the board.