Letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor

Basal professional study competence of academic school graduates

Were it not for the devastating consequences for a large number of people and our society as a whole, the sheer madness of our educational system would indeed make for an absolute joke:
For years, one reform has been following on the heels of another. School, it had been purported, no longer met the requirements of a modern knowledge-based society and subsequently, teachers were asked to no longer “teach” their students. Knowledge was viewed to have too short of a half-life and thus more emphasis was to be put on developing strategies to enable students to acquire said knowledge for themselves if necessary. From the “World Wide Web” perhaps?
Then, teachers were no longer allowed to correct their students’ first attempts at writing or to instruct them on how to write properly because “experts” feared it would stifle the children’s creativity. Meanwhile in Math classes, all teaching materials still based on a logical structure were banned from the classroom. Students were supposed to develop their own approaches to solving a problem. “Education experts” were coming up with increasingly creative ways to prevent learning even more effectively – all of it, of course, financed by millions of the taxpayer’s money.
An evaluation of the 1995 Matura reform (Matura = the Swiss equivalent to high-school graduation) showed that a high percentage of students did not even reach the level of knowledge required to be accepted into university in subjects such as their native language or mathematics. “When asked, examination experts confirm that there are high-school graduates unable to write a single sentence in German correctly. Mistakes in spelling turned out to be not an exception but the norm (“Neue Zürcher Zeitung” from 21 January 2015)”. What a surprise!
But instead of resorting back to traditional teaching methods, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of  Education commissioned yet another study, this one focussed on the determination of “basal professional study competence”.
Wouldn’t it be better if the Cantonal Ministers of  Education thought about this for themselves, without the help of “experts” just once?

Michael Schewski

(Translation Current Concerns)

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