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REVIEW of Focus 32
Whatever happened to the 3 Rs
The pace of modern life is leaving education behind

Once upon a time the three R's were the essential basics in education. In order to progress in later life it was deemed necessary to give young kids a good working knowledge of literacy and numeracy. Then came a period of enlightenment when free expression was more important than spelling and grammar. As a consequence, students might have been able to pen some really fanciful and exciting ideas, but they did so in a half-baked, flawed English scrawl that was barely legible and tested the patience of anyone who had to read it. As for arithmetic, who needed competency in it when electronic calculators could do the job far quicker and more accurately?

The modern trend, unfortunately, was set; the result - generations of semi-literates unable to read and comprehend anything unsupported mainly by illustrations; and who were under the impression that 4 x 4 = a type of off-road vehicle. Clearly, the general consensus of opinion is that it doesn't matter when there are computers and suchlike to take care of the shortfall; but it does to some: employers, for example, who require certain standards to be upheld; and universities which expect students to have already acquired competency in English and mathematics.

Should we continue along the same path, before long everyone will be communicating in abbreviated text-speak and totally reliant on word processors for writing which, after all, do usually come with a spell-check. Remember those monastic scribes of old time who laboured for hours illustrating the first letter of a document? They took a pride in their work. Shouldn't we; or have we lost the need for that as well?

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 32 click here

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