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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A general decline in standards

I don't know if this is because I'm getting older, but I do see a general decline in standards. When reading my national newspaper, my hairs often stand on edge when I spot mistakes in spelling and/or grammar. Too many, these days. Don't they have editors anymore??? I used to be a teacher of languages, and my professor grammar used to be very precise. With some hint of an accent you wouldn't pass your exams. And especially not with an essay littered with the mistakes I now see in the daily papers and magazines.

Also, the general knowledge of young people seems in the decline. Twenty years ago, I once asked a class to name the capital of Egypt (used in context of a text we were reading) and one pupil answered 'Paris'! But at that time they could still spell more or less exact and could conjugate their verbs. Dutch is a difficult language - when conjugating verbs, they either end on 't' - 'd' or 'dt'. This appears difficult these days. And they don't know any geography anymore, nor any history. To me, it doesn't look like a good thing.

Manners are on the decline as well. I won't say only young people are rude (some are, other aren't). Sometimes it looks as if the elderly are the rudest. (I just hope I'm not like that.)

This morning, I heard on the news that the two biggest universities of our country are lowering their standards too. When I was a student, you started the academic year early in October. You either attended the courses or not, but the exams started in the middle of June (and colleges ended early in May, so you had a month or so to prepare). You could only move on to the following year when you passed all your exams. The only exception was for those students who failed less than 3 exams and had a 13 in general (20 being the highest score to be had). All the others could take a second sitting in September. We started out with around 400 students in my option (Germanic Philology) and after the first year (even after the exams of September) we were with 100 to move on to the second year of bachelor. We ended up with about 80 to take the master's degree.

But now the students have exams twice a year, and they don't need to pass anymore. They take along one course to the next year. And even then, the two universities mentioned want to make it even more simple. You can wonder what those master degrees are worth anymore?

What's your take on this?

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