Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Education System Is Going to Pieces...

...and all I get to do is laugh about it.

This morning on Mino Monta's wide show there was the latest installment of the neverending story "How the public education system is failing our kids and we don't have a clue what to do about it."

Today's subject was the decline of knowledge of kanji among elementary school students, as measured by a recent survey taken by the Nihon Kyoiku Gijutsu Gakkai.

The NKGG tested both reading and writing skills for grades one through six. From the test of writing ability per each grade, researchers found the kanji compound on the left (○) gave the children the most trouble, with the most common error being the form listed on the right (×).

Now everything was proceeding according to the usual pattern--the host was asking his usual rhetorical questions while one of the guests offered his pet theory why pedagogy was going down the drain--when someone, I cannot remember whether it was a guest or one of the presenters, said:

"Wait a minute, in the line for the fifth graders. That isn't pronounced shiji. What's there would be pronounced shitai. That's the kanji for 'wait' with 'man going' radical. It should be "carry" with the 'hand' radical."

And lo and behold, the guest was right. The table purporting to illustrate the disheartening kanji errors of students itself had a kanji error in it.

Mino-san gamely put his his finger over the incorrect radical, then with a shrug put the table face down on the desk, saying, "Oh well, moving right along..."

He then swiveled toward the camera. His face a mask of false rage, he vowed, "After the show is over there's going to be a staff hanseikai*."


* = "meeting for reflection and remorse"

1 comment:

Robert Dujarric said...

May I ask what score President Bush would have gotten on a similar test of English ability?
As for Cheney, I guess he still thinks Saddam was called ben-Laden