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Mind you, if you really want to plumb the depths, take a look at this clip.

Miss Teen South Carolina (bless!) is asked why she thinks many Americans can't find their own country on a map.

She was simply taking a global view of the question. I mean, she knew all about South Africa.........didn't she?


My daughter related that one to me this weekend. I thought it was their state they couldn't find, but I understand she put it down to a shortage of maps, in the richest country in the world. Poor dear! She doesn't realize she's living in a third-world country, and getting a third-world education. Jennifer and I had a bit of a laugh over it.

In high school, we had to know the names of all the states and all the provinces and territorities of Canada, and be able to write them on a blank map. I don't think that's too much to ask a student. Most of them today probably think Idaho is something a pimp says.

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Mind you, if you really want to plumb the depths, take a look at this clip.

Miss Teen South Carolina (bless!) is asked why she thinks many Americans can't find their own country on a map.


Future homemakers of America, we salute you.

I've just seen this. I'm guessing that she was coached to move the questions into third-world issues, and what America can do about them. She is very pretty, though. I could coach her better.

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According to the front of todays Times, this is a typical multi-choice science question in a school exam:

Q: Chei and Jas visit an observatory with their class, the astronomers who work there show them some instruments they use to find out about many different types of stars

Many people observe the stars using:

A a telescope

B a microscope

C an X-ray tube

D a synthesiser

Struggling with this one :wink:

Personally having been involved with GCSE and SAT exams for several years, I have never seen any questions as dumb as that.

The full article is here:


Quick question. Who calls their kids Chei and Jas? (BTW I'm aware that Jas could be short for Jaswinder).


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I run my own business & we actively (i.e. it's a criteria of your employment) 'encourage' our employees to attain vocational qualifications. Under 25's have to join the apprenticeship (yes after the years of NVQ rubbish that no-one recognised, we're now back to apprenticeships). What I notice most is that there is a very definite lack of motivation / desire to achieve amongst the young today. This surely must start with the parents & quite possibly the lack of positive role modelling that they are exposed to. One of the biggest differences of 'now & then' is the level of false expectation that we see in our younger staff, it seems that everyone has an unrealistic expectation without any knowledge of how to achieve it (15 minutes of fame & glory for being a complete idiot). An apprenticeship (as detailed by the college) is now attainable in 1 year - probably many people over the age of 30 are reading this - how long was your apprenticeship? (answer 3-5 years). Many years ago an apprentice's parents would actually be liable for his attendance at work! I see alot of this change as being indicative of the expectations we put on the 'yoof' - whilst it is obvious to anyone who interacts with a wide spectrum of young people that exams are not a defining level anymore (see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article678647.ece) youngsters can only work & achieve within the system that they are given. Last week we interviewed a 24 year old girl with a 2:2 degree in Business Administration & 4 A levels, her job history to date was Canteen Lady (at the college she got her degree), Morrison's supermarket & animal carer (dog walker). Now none of these are bad or unworthy jobs - but they are not what she could reasonably have anticipated after obtaining a degree - in her own word "everybody has a degree now" - for which read "anybody can get a degree now". More & more we see that we seem unprepared to differentiate between people in the education system - as an employer there is no indication as to the quality of the candidate prior to interview - and as an employee there seems to be no reasonable expectation of what to expect when entering work - or indeed 'life'.

just did the 'preview' option & realise I need to apologise for bit of a rant - but it really really annoys me!

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Right.. This is one of my pet peeves and how the standard of education has indeed declined (now i get a feeling it is a global phenomenon)

I would like to narrate an incident here

There was this interview to join(yes- so called good private schools conduct interviews to take children in, and insist that the parents are graduates so that they can teach the children at home :? ) what we call as kindergarten in India (at about 3 years of age). A teacher drew a picture of a bus and asked the tiny tot to identify which direction teh bus was moving- apparently the child had to look for the presence of an exit and determine the direction of motion- phew..!

Having been admitted to school, the usual emphasis in India is to cram as much possible into memory, that few days after the examinations are over they tend to forget what they learnt, and as a result are not able to apply what they learnt at Engineering on the job. Due to a lack of emphasis on written and spoken English, which is getting easier and easier nowadays (No daffodils or the solitary reaper at school anymore-I did loads of shakespeare in class 8 abridged - my dad had to read the original in pre university.) they are hardly able to speak/write good, grammatically correct English.

Their arithmetic and mathematical abilities are appalling to say the least - I even had to explain the Ohm's law to a final year electrical engineering student once. None of the fresh software engineers that join the organisation are any good in Mathematics. All they want seems to be plum salaries, which they can easily get by job hopping and some use that as a threat to ask for a foreign travel opportunity. Thus most blokes end up being rolling stones, without gathering any moss.

Sorry for the rant, but I thought this was prevalent only in India!!..



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Geoff, If it was not so serious, it would be a side splitting joke.

I could be opening a can of worms here, but I am of the opinion that the education in our country is on the whole pretty poor, or at least the results of it are glaringly obvious to me.

For example, the English language is dying a slow death. I get so damned annoyed when I here not only youngster, but older teens, young adults, older mature people, and lots in in quite high profile jobs in the workplace, dispensing with the proper pronunciation of specific words. Now if a word starts with a TH, It becomes an F or a V. as in THINK fink, WITH wiv. And so on.

Most of these could and should have been corrected by parents as their children were coming up to learning school age. Unfortunately, most had neither the time or the inclination to deal with it.

Also, I would venture to say, the mental arithmetic capabilities of vast numbers of people are non existent. Too easy to use a calculator it is said. Well I don't subscribe to that. If the brain is not tested, then it is simply not going to develop as it is supposed to.

What I see mostly today, is zombies walking about with either a mobile stuck in their ear, or thumbing a meaningless text message to some other drongo, also wandering aimlessly about.

Now, I know I am blanketing here, so I have to say I am tarring everone with the same brush. Just an awful lot of them.

There, I've had my gripe.


ok to add flavor to ur point chap

my partner is a primary school teacher!

and she is told that for each negative in an essay she needs to highlight three positives (even if there are none). otherwise u risk knackering the self asteem of the kid!

now thats PC gone mad!

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They even do that in a lot of workplaces now, its called a 'praise sandwich'. The 'offender' gets called into his bosses office, the boss mentions a positive thing about his work, then the negative thing the offender is really in there for and then another positive before he leaves.

I kid you not.... :wink:

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I can see the point of that. If someone never hears anything positive about his work, he is unlikely to perform well, and to meet the expectations he is hearing. My early experiences in school and the workplace have left me terrified of being called into the boss's office and told to close the door. And this even though for most of the last 30 years I have had good relationships with my managers. Except for that SOB who.... :wink:

If you have to talk to a coworker about his work, it does no good to tell him he's a useless jerk who can't get anything right, which is what you are doing if you only call him into the office to tell him about his mistakes. It costs nothing to say, "We really appreciated the way you learned the new account procedures, Bill, but we need to talk to you about the timelines of some of your reports." It's much more professional, and more likely to result in an improvement. If you really don't like anything the worker does, fire him, but let him know that he does some things OK; he just needs to improve in this or that specific area.

I can remember being told constantly that I was lazy and stupid at various levels in elementary school, while in fact I was bored out of my skull.

I have seen enough examples to perceive that management by negative reinforcement is actually a form of bullying, and about power relationships more than it is about managing the workplace. The best managers I have known have been the ones who were easy to talk to, and respected their staffs, while still expecting high levels of performance, and getting those high levels.

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I distinctly remember learning equations and laws when I did Physics O level.

Has there been a fundamental change in the way the universe works since 1982 such that all questions can now be answered as long as you have 3 other alternatives eg:

How do we reconcile special relativity with quantum mechanics?

1 Ask a space monkey.

2 Sit down for a long time and think about it.

3 Hope some brainy bloke figures it out.

4 Make a cheese sandwich.

The answer is obviously 4 unless 3 happens first.

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