Tip o’ the pileus to the ARLT blog for pointing us to an excerpt from Hansard from Monday past … the matters being discussed are assorted things about education, including curriculum:
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): The baccalaureate’s emphasis on ancient history and Latin will allow our students to cope admirably with the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago, but leave them less able to cope with modern life, because of the neglect of IT. In which century are the Government living?
Michael Gove: It is a source of considerable pride to me that the number of students studying Latin in comprehensives is the highest ever. We are presiding over the greatest renaissance in Latin learning since Julius Caesar invaded. [ Interruption. ] Those who are about to answer should be saluted, as we say in Latin. The critical thing is that we have to ensure that our examinations in every subject are up there with the best in the world. It is striking that before he went to university, one of the iconic figures of the 21st century—Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook—studied Latin, Greek and classical Hebrew.
Michael Gove is the UK Secretary of State for Education … I always find it interesting how educational arguments always seem to be an either/or thing … I also continue to be amazed that folks (on both sides of the pond) continue (it seems) to not understand that IT is a necessary means to an end, not an end in itself (in a grade school setting). In our board, we are generally given two computers per class, only one of which is usually working. I’ve often wanted to haul assorted powers-that-be (say, twenty at a time) into a room to give a presentation that they have to take notes for … but only give them two pencils, one of which is broken and one which is only an inch long. That said, it’s kind of sad that this sort of debate/discussion likely will never happen in Canada and/or Ontario … the value of Latin just isn’t appreciated at the government level, alas.