Past TimesEd

28th February 2003 at 00:00
75 years ago. February 25, 1928

THE valiant effort now in full progress in the Irish Free State to preserve and extend the Erse tongue is regarded by some educationists as an example of support to a lost cause. The case against the movement can be stated with effective brevity. English is a language which, both for purposes of literature and of commerce, has a world-wide vogue. It is in an ever-increasing degree taught in the schools of the world, and bids fair to become the lingua franca of the earth. In these circumstances is it not mere foolishness to impose upon a population quite close to the economic centre of the world a tongue that is difficult to learn and as out of touch with modern educational realities as Sanscrit?

50 years ago. February 27, 1953

THE news that nearly 60 per cent of all successful candidates in 1952 were rated by the Army as "likely to make below-average regular officers" hits the reader like a depressing disclosure that so many 15-year-olds are backward in reading. Add to that the constant plaint of industrialists that they cannot recruit enough of the right type of potential manager, and one is left with a gloomy picture of the nation's youth.

25 years ago. February 24, 1978

RADIO transmitters strapped to teachers, stopwatches held by researchers and a second-by-second analysis of the daily life of schools have revealed that the secondary teacher works on average a 42.5 hour week in term time.

Taking holidays into account the working week is 40 hours: almost the same as the national average for other workers of 40.7 hours. But the findings, the result of a four-year survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research, show that only a fifth of the time is spent teaching. The rest goes on administration and associated tasks.

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