Leggo l’interessantissmo reportage del The Guardian sulle pessime competenze lingustiche degli alunni inglesi.
E’ interessante leggere l’opinione del prof. Smithers a riguardo (sempre sul sito del Guardian): Francese e tedesco non servono più a nulla, tanto l’inglese è la lingua dell’Europa. meglio imparare il cinese. Addio quadro strategico di Figel!
Leggete anche questo commento apparso sull’economist. Se ne deduce che il sistema scolastico inglese non è buono e che alla fine della scuola, unalarga pecentuale di allievi commette ancora molti errori in inglese. A segnalare che l’inglese è la loro lingua madre. Cosa dovrebbero dire gli altri a cui vien detto che l’inglese è una lingua ‘facile’?
No end of them
Aug 24th 2006
From The Economist print edition
Employers have good reason to moan
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EVERY time Kate Owen, director of Opal London, interviews candidates for a job, she sets them a simple maths test. Her firm, a “body-care products” wholesaler, is small, which means that each of her 12 employees may need to talk to buyers about prices. “But the number of job applicants who cannot calculate 10% of 10 is staggering,” she says, sitting in an office piled high with pink bars of soap and yellow plastic ducks. Many also lack basic writing skills. “Every time we advertise a job vacancy I’m demoralised by the standards of people coming out of school,” she says.
On August 21st the Confederation of British Industry published some damning findings about school-leavers’ poor skills that support Ms Owen’s concerns. Companies surveyed by the CBI grumbled that many youngsters were unable to do the simplest mental arithmetic or to write English without spelling mistakes and grammatical blunders. One in three employers said standards were so low they had to provide staff with remedial training in English and maths.
There is a depressing familiarity about such complaints. The economy has long been held back by having too many low-skilled workers. International comparisons suggest that this is still a big problem among young adults (see chart). Now employers appear to be seeing little improvement among school-leavers.
On August 24th the overall GCSE pass-rate rose. But although the share of 16-year-olds getting five or more passes graded C or above has been climbing, it is still too low. Last year only 56% achieved this level. If those five decent grades included maths and English, however, only 44% of pupils managed to do that well. And many of those who do make the grade in maths and English are not up to scratch. Universities routinely complain that students arrive with poor grammar and spelling.
The government is trying to do something. It wants to make GCSE maths and English tougher by bringing a “functional” element into the exams. Quite what this will entail is not yet clear: an ability, probably, to apply skills to problems pupils may encounter in their working lives. But it will matter for their results. If pupils fail this component of the exams, they will not score higher than a D grade.
In 2008 the government will also introduce new, specialised diplomas to replace the present tangle of vocational qualifications that students can opt to take instead of GCSEs and A-levels. These, too, will include tests to show that pupils have a functional grasp of English and maths.
Although these reforms may help, companies report other skills that are in short supply. For example, they complain that many school-leavers cannot speak clearly. Manners are also a problem; one firm cited applicants who show up for interview in “scruffy track-suit bottoms and trainers, and grunt”.
In 1997 Tony Blair campaigned on a pledge of “education, education, education”. The prime minister can hardly be blamed if today’s youngsters have poor manners. But the litany of woes from employers suggests that something has gone wrong with Labour’s school reforms.