21st May 2004 at 01:00
75 years ago

* May 18, 1929

There is, of course, no such being as a totally ineducable child. Were it possible to conceive him, he would be without understanding, without senses, without emotion, and beyond the range of pity. All children above the mental deficiency line are, in the widest sense of the term, highly educable. But there are many children, who, at an earlier or later stage in their school career, falter, and, after a period of floundering, stop short, apparently unable to go farther...Usually it is during the third year of their secondary school life that these unfortunate children drop finally out of the race. Their last two years, for they rarely stay beyond the fifth year, as far as the subjects in a secondary curriculum are concerned, are utterly wasted.

50 years ago

* May 21, 1954

There is nearly always a question in the English language paper which runs something like this:"Distinguish between the words in the following groups." It seems an oddly artificial exercise , this traffic with sense and symbol in the in the vacuum of the examination room. But the problem of synonymity sometimes arises in the rough-and-tumble of less academic places. Parliament itself, which is, it must be admitted, often like a school, has recently had to tackle it. The Minister of State reported that on a certain matter discussions were not taking place but conversations were. Then up jumped the examiner in the person of Mr Aneurin Bevan. He suggested that a glossary of terms should be made "to decide the difference between discussions, negotiations, consultations, and talks". Bench glanced at Bench, Tory at Socialist, in a common helplessness, or turned their eyes ceilingwards with an inarticulate prayer for inspiration. But neither Roget answered nor Fowler heard.

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