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Education system a sham

Over the years, hundreds if not thousands a letters have been written to PostBag bemoaning the dreadful state of education in Thailand.

Channel 3 news carried a story about English language training and testing that highlights just how dreadful it is ... synonyms such as dire, ghastly, alarming and frightful come to mind.

Here are two examples from an officially sanctioned multiple-choice question test set for 10-year-old students in schools. These are 10-year-olds, remember!

Question: What is the dense membrane on the outer surface of the bone?

(a) Periosteum

(b) Cancellous (sic) bone

(c) Compact bone.

Even I, as a post-graduate English teacher, did not know the answer.

But by a process of elimination of (b) and (c), I arrived at the correct answer (a).

How on earth are 10-year-old students expected to know the answer, and what relevance is it to them anyway?

A Google search reveals that this is a question from a medical exam for students at Cambridge University (with, I would hope, the correct spelling of "cancerous").

What indolent, lazy and uncaring teacher decided to take the easy option and paste and copy a ridiculous test question instead of something relevant to the level and needs of such young students.

Here is another question, which is equally as ridiculous and inappropriate.

Question: To protect Buddha from the sun he had:

(a) Long hair

(b) Curled hair

(c) Short hair.

I leave you, dear reader, to work out the answer to that one.

David Brown


Ridiculous comparison

Re: "The trade-off: freedom and authority," (Opinion, Sept 17).

Comparing systems of governance around the world is like comparing fragrant roses and mangoes with serpents and crocodiles.

The fact is that we are born free and will die free. The society we are born into is the main cause of all kinds of aberration in human behaviour. Sadly, we are nurtured with the values of the society we are born into. They mould our nature and behaviour.

Only a free society can nourish human intelligence, creativity, and innovation. With all its constitutional vagaries, the US remains a hub for creativity and innovation. It remains a cauldron of controversies with its paramount value of freedom of voice and choice. Where in the world the citizens can force a recall of an elected governor on a ballot box? Only in California. Can people dare to do this in Russia, China or Thailand?

Law and order can sometimes deliver economic growth but it can't always stimulate intellect, creativity, and innovation. Hence, those with free will, free mind, and full capabilities for taking action will rule this planet. This is how the law of nature works.

Kuldeep Nagi


Virus confusion spreading

Re: "Oct 1 reopening up in air," (BP, Sept 17).

I have to say that your article makes no sense.

A day before you published an article with the headline: "City's reopening to be postponed."

But of all the claims made in this article the most diverting is the last paragraph: "Thira Woratanarat said the number of new cases in Thailand remained high and foreign arrivals could bring the virus with them."

The other day your paper noted that of the 32,000+ arrivals in Phuket only 0.28% were found to be infected while the local population and migrant workers are responsible for a surge in cases causing a shortage of hospital beds.

And there is still little, or no, clarity regarding the rules for this "reopening": COE, insurance, testing, SHA, ASQ, sealed tours and the like are still not addressed.

How can anyone expect travellers, other than returnees, to plan any type of vacation when no one, including the government, can clearly produce a set of standards for travellers?

Fred Prager


Do we want money or lives?

Re: "Oct 1 reopening up in air," (BP, Sept 17).

You have reported that Thira Woratanarat, associate professor at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, warned against reopening the borders on Oct 1 because "foreign arrivals could bring the virus with them".

While true, it is difficult to understand this line of thinking when the Covid-19 virus and its many variants are now endemic in Thailand.

The timing of the country's reopening is a decision that only the government can make.

However, it would appear that economic necessity is an increasingly important factor in decisions about continuing or relaxing Covid-19 restrictions now being taken by governments around the world.

While it is easy for politicians and academics in their ivory towers to pontificate, the huge economic devastation and suffering around the world will dictate future events more than the virus itself.

Paul Bromberg


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