Past TimesEd

16th May 2003 at 01:00
75 years ago. May 12, 1928

Education committees are frequently attacked for their ignorance of educational principles and ideals, their obsession for economy, and their mechanical attitude to problems where mechanical rules and regulations may do incalculable harm. There is, in spite of external appearances to the contrary, a strong undercurrent of antagonism between teachers and the committees, the former indulging in much sarcasm at the mistakes or limitations of the latter, and the committees adopting a dictatorial attitude to the teachers.

50 years ago. May 15, 1953

Happy is the man in this material world who has a head for figures. "Two and three, four and a penny, five and nine," says the grocer while paterfamilias is still looking for a price-tag on the nutmeg. It is all a matter of practice. That is why a London headmaster has been suggesting that children should have dartboards in their schools. He has noticed that men who play darts in taverns add and subtract the scores with a speed that shames the Comet. Here, he concludes, education may take a leaf out of life.

25 years ago. May 19, 1978

Discussions start next week on Mrs Shirley Williams's plan for mandatory, means-tested educational maintenance allowances (EMAs). It looks as if she is determined to knock out a scheme before the summer recess to have something convincing on the stocks before the election campaign begins in earnest. No one in the education service will quarrel with the main objective: to raise the participation rate in upper secondary and further education, and in particular the participation of students from lower socio-economic groups. In spite of a vast expansion of the education system over the last three decades, the percentage of all higher education students drawn from working class families stubbornly refuses to rise.

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