20 September 2007

Wales looks to the future...

I came across this article today with Plaid Cymru (the Welsh political party) banning wi-fi in its schools. Lots of comments from ignorami, and none from anyone knowledgeable.

Added to this story from last week where a school governor and Labour party researcher called the Welsh language "practically brain dead" on an internet chat room (He later claimed he meant to say "dead" not "brain dead"). He was forced to quit for his honesty and reality. I don't have a problem with Welsh being taught and people electing to learn it. But to pretend that making this compulsory does not reduce learning of some other subjects of more vocational use is just plain delusional.

In this day and age of globalisation and competitiveness, it strikes me the Welsh are heading towards being the Amish of the EU with these sorts of attitudes. I find it particularly sad that in both cases the stories are reported as if there is only one side - the side of the Luddite. No wonder Wales is a permanent drain on the UK and EU taxpayer to subsidise its industry.

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2 comments:

Guto said...

Let's not the truth get in the way of a good story eh!

Did you even read the link you were linking to? Nowhere there does it say that Plaid have even suggested, let alone carry out, a ban on Wi-Fi in schools. It says that some councils are considering doing so (none of which are run by the nationalists)

Secondly, there is nothing "delusional" about Welsh lessons at school. Take a simple look at statistics, from Wales and all over the world. Children who are educated bilingually get better results across all subjects. That's fact. You can only pity the children who grow up without such bilinguallism at school.

Ian Hobson said...

I thought this might provoke a few comments.

>Nowhere does it say that Plaid have even suggested, let alone carry out, a ban on Wi-Fi in schools. It says that some councils are considering doing so (none of which are run by the nationalists)

Really? The article BEGINS "PLAID Cymru said yesterday that its policy of providing every child in Wales with a laptop would not be based on a wireless broadband network if it was introduced, as uncertainty continued to surround the safety of such a system." Later on "Plaid MP Adam Price" is noted as someone who has questioned it's safety. And, the article notes that a school in Carmarthenshire HAS banned it.

If Plaid is saying that no laptops will have wi-fi, then it pretty much eliminates the point in having it does it not! It will be both hard and expensive to add it later (and I guess you'll be excluding the best computers for kids - Macs - as they all have wi-fi).

Perhaps, Guto, it is YOU who should read the articles. And, perhaps you'd care to comment on whether this is anything more than scaremongery on behalf of lunatics who try to profit by creating these fears (see other articles I have linked to in the past at the Quackometer and Bad Science)?

You then go on to say: "Secondly, there is nothing "delusional" about Welsh lessons at school. Take a simple look at statistics, from Wales and all over the world. Children who are educated bilingually get better results across all subjects. That's fact. You can only pity the children who grow up without such bilinguallism at school."

Now, this I do agree with you on. Indeed to some extent that is my point. Studying languages is something I indeed support. But, I'm afraid that Welsh IS a dead language - at least as far as it's usefulness to the general population to equip them for the modern world. While studying it should not be stopped, I think the time would be better spent for the vast majority of pupils in studying another language (Spanish, Japanese, Chinese?). You may say they should do this too, but then what else suffers? Maths? Science, Literature? By all means celebrate your culture, but the country owes its kids to teach them to get the most from the modern world. Compulsory Welsh is NOT the solution.

Sure, I'm being provocative. But, I was particularly frustrated with both stories in their complete lack of balance, and I believe this is a serious failing in societies that attempt to squeeze out proper debate. And it does seem a bit like its the loonie left getting its way irrespective of what is best for its kids.