The state of education in this country today is truly deplorable. Education has become debased (some think, deliberately) from nursery schools to universities. It is a trite excuse to blame the government for every disaster, but in this case it is the governments of the country that are directly responsible.
The dead hand of politics controls all, and only the “politically correct” are allowed to have any say in education, and, as politics nowadays is essentially anti-Christian (no matter what profession some politicians make), education has become anti-Christian.
The history of our country has been the history of a Christian country; our culture is Christian, our morality is Christian. Therefore, our present anti-Christian governments have wished to destroy our history, our culture, our morality. They are succeeding. They are also destroying our freedom.
Forty years ago, it was possible for anyone to start a school. The requirements were minimal. This led to the creation of many worthless schools, but many more had their value. There was a choice. By increasing regulations made by governments almost wholly devoid of any knowledge of education, these small, independent schools closed. Nowadays, there is very little choice of schools, and the state-controlled schools dominate. Moreover, parents can be sent to prison if they keep their children away from school.
Again, there was a variety of examination boards, and one could choose which examinations were suitable, and which were more fairly marked. Now, nearly all examining boards are composed of the same people, few of them even nominally Christian, and most anti-Christian. I have had to warn my students not to include anything Christian in their answers, for then they would be likely to fail the examination, whatever their knowledge or ability.
The present system is like that of Eastern Europe under Communism, where children were taught lies at school, and the truth at home, where it was a crime to be a Christian and an equally serious crime to teach the truth. I was told by an Estonian that under Brezhnev, it was even a crime to tell a joke. I also noted that couriers in the Baltic States who were very outspoken about life under the Communists were not employed by my English holiday company the second time I went there.
Given what little freedom we have nowadays, it is better that children should be taught at home rather than in some schools, where there is little discipline, because even the better teachers are not allowed to punish, and where immorality is openly taught, and encouraged by successive governments.
The difficulty is that parents often have neither the skill nor the knowledge, and there is a danger of the child being ill prepared for any career. Again, equipment that is so plentiful in some schools is prohibitively expensive, especially for scientific subjects. Nevertheless, it is better that a child should receive good, though limited, education at home, than be subjected to our present state education.
Even where a good school is available, the state system compels teachers to teach that which is immoral and untrue; and it is better that this teaching be corrected at home. Also, if the teaching at school can be supplemented, the child has a better chance in life.
The computer has allowed access to a good deal of information, but it must be remembered that it only contains information that has been fed into it. To rely solely upon a computer, is to limit one’s knowledge. Books are still the greatest source of knowledge in the world. Nevertheless, the computer is a great asset, if used wisely. Certainly for the basic learning of languages, it is most helpful.
My own special subjects are HISTORY, MUSIC, LANGUAGES LITERATURES (including English language and literature).
Unfortunately, modern trends have come into these subjects.
History is taught from a “politically correct” point of view, and text-books embody these views to the extent of printing lies. Truthful books have been allowed to go out of print.
English suffers in the same way, with inferior rubbish, and even pornography, replacing standard texts. It also suffers form an ignorance of the English language, even at university level. In one of the erudite Arden Editions of Shakespeare’s plays, the editor shows only too plainly that he does not know how English poetry is written.
The same applies to Foreign Languages; books once banned are now on our A-level syllabus (like Vipère au Poing).
If expertise in language is required, probably the best examinations are those of the Institute of Linguists. For courses, the Euro-Talk (www.eurotalk.co.uk) series appears, on the whole, good, but the Talk-Now programme is very basic.
It does a series for children, which I have not explored. Level Two is available in some languages, and Level Three uses the relatively harmless Asterix cartoons, but only in four languages. For teaching oneself, the best series is probably the Teach Yourself (TY) series by Hodder, which comes with a cassette (cassette-player and head-phones needed).
Certainly their Romanian Course (which I am using at the moment) is sensible and inoffensive. It even has the Romanian for the Ten Commandments! (cele zece Porunci) However, it is absolutely essential to browse the text first.
Other courses, such as Routlege, vary. Their Estonian and Latvian courses are good, but their Advanced German has two unintelligent divorcees who are obviously going to make a mess of a second marriage with each other. On the other hand, Routlege’s Ukrainian Course has near its outset a tongue-twister, and nowhere in the book does it tell the reader the meaning of it!
Another important point is that most foreign languages have nouns and adjectives affected by gender (masculine and feminine, and sometimes neuter); therefore if the course includes characters who make their way though various situations, it is vital that one be male and another female, so that the masculine and feminine forms are learned. One Italian course to be found in many book-shops has two young boys as the main characters.
Therefore, no feminine forms are learned. Moreover, when they arrive in Italy, they clamour to go to the opera, which is the last place I should expect to find the average English boy. The Routlege Hungarian has an American family, one of whom is a marine biologist – not a term I should ever want to use in Hungary (which is several hundred miles from the sea). As in so many other things, there seems to be a lack of common sense in text-books, far worse than even the lack of comprehension in the dreariest and most impossible moral “tale for children” of the Victorians.
When one has a reasonable grasp of the language, one can purchase cheaply a Bible from the Trinitarian Bible Society, which produces Bibles in nearly every standard language.
Music, long exempt from interference, is succumbing, with the great classics being replaced by inferior contemporary works, some of which are downright evil (Wozzeck). At Warwick, I am told, it is possible to get a degree in pop music. For practical examinations, one should explore the Colleges and Academies of Music.
The State of Education
by Dr. D. M. Stevens
3rd March 2004
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