Tag Archives: Students

We Don’t Need No Education—Oh, Really Now?

23 Jan

I told you children were stupid.

New research shows that youngsters are leaving primary school unable to spell, add or do times tables. According to a survey, more than a quarter of children aged between 10 and 12 cannot add two simple sums together without a calculator.

Dullards!

This comes just a few days after students worldwide panicked because Wikipedia went black for one day. Young people tweeted “How will I do my homework now?” (and worse yet, many wrote “What’s going on with Wikipedia?” Google it, idiots!).

And therein lies the problem: laziness.

We didn’t have Spell Check when I was young. If we needed to know how to spell a word, we would walk across the room to the bookshelf and look it up in the dictionary (where, thoughtfully, the definition of said word was also available, free of charge).  No children had calculators either; shopkeepers were banned from selling them to minors. Those who did manage to get a hold of one didn’t even consider using it for mathematical reasons (hint: 5318008). Why would they? There was no reason to: that’s when brains are for.

Young people today seem to have willingly resigned themselves to not having to do things—if a machine won’t do it for them, then it must not be that important. Sadly, this seems to include thinking; I guess that’s just too much hard work for them to bother with. This can’t bode well for the future.

If you’re a parent worried about your child’s abilities, here’s a simple test: restrict his or her use of machines for one week. Without a calculator, can he complete his algebra homework? Without a computer, can she write an essay? Without a refrigerator, can he keep his meat and milk products from spoiling? Without her dialysis machine, can she remove waste and excess water from her blood? If the answers are no, your child is too dependent on machines and very likely a dumbbell.

You have my deepest sympathies. If they’re still in primary school, you still have time. Schedule an appointment with their teachers to come up with an action plan.  Otherwise, I’m afraid your children will be on the fast track to a career as a fast food worker, criminal or the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No one wants that.

Students—You Gotta Love And/Or Hate ‘Em

14 Nov

I always find myself in a bit of a sticky situation when discussing students and their financial woes, because I grew up in America, where they do everything bigger, including their student debt. This year there are more than 100 higher ed institutions in the US charging over $50,000 a year for tuition, fees and room and board (for those of you who failed your maths O-levels, that’s about £31,000). Fees vary, obviously, and also increase for out-of-state students. This total does not even factor in the required books and other supplies, VD treatment, bail money or legal fees for when students take professors to court for not giving them the grades they wanted. We’re talking big bucks here, people. Although financial aid and loans are available, the price is so high that a deal with the devil is often the only option. This explains why most US university students are soulless twats.

But English higher education has never been run in this way, so far be it from me to make a comment—as you know, I never speak on things on which I am not an expert on.

However, the protest raised one issue that affects all of us, and that is the issue of hypocrisy. Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have a country where three major political parties win most of the elections. Let’s say the third party, while admittedly holding far fewer seats than the other two, represents the possibility of change to much of the electorate: a belief that just maybe we could have a party in power whose policies were, I don’t know, let’s say, more “liberal” than the status quo of the two other parties, who seem to grow more and more like each other each year. Then through some odd twist of fate, the leader of that third party (just to keep the story simple I’ll give this character the name “Nick”), through some bizarre aligning of the stars, a global financial disaster and the scary smile of the incumbent, Nick somehow actually becomes Deputy Prime Minister. Hurrah! say the electorate, we are going to finally have a little bit of influence on the way things are run. This man, this Nick, he made promises—maybe even signed pledges—that if he were ever in power, he’d do right by us.

Then he didn’t.

Maybe we’d believe that this hypothetical Nick wanted to stop certain policies but just got outvoted. Maybe he would say, I have not abandoned my principles—I just don’t have enough power to overrule.

But imagine he didn’t say that. Imagine instead that he said, on reflection, he wasn’t being careful when he made the pledge, that now he knows he should have been promising the exact opposite of what he pledged. In fact, now that the older boys in the blue ties have explained everything to him, he actually reckons their ideas are more progressive than his party’s.

Now in my little story, I imagine quite a few of us would feel pretty cross at our Nick. Maybe cross enough even to, hypothetically of course, bust out a few windows and throw a few things around. It wouldn’t fix things and would probably lead to our arrests, but the anger itself would not be an inappropriate response.

Tens of thousands of students showing up at Millbank Tower Wednesday has had two important and hopefully long-lasting effects: 1. it proved that the younger generation is not apathetic and will speak up against hypocrisy and 2. because so many students were otherwise occupied, downloads of that lady’s gaga music dipped drastically. Both of these can only be good things.