I had an extremely interesting conversation with a food industry professional recently, and he informed me that the only thing stopping his business growing was the complete dearth of good people. He explained how he repeatedly comes up against graduates who can’t spell or do simple maths. I sympathise – I’ve had media graduates who can’t spell, and in the publishing industry you’d have thought this was a prerequisite.

Perhaps the following will help to explain; and yes, it is a true story. Keith Elliot, chairman of UK-based PMA Media Training, received a letter from a

would-be writer that is staggering in its ineptitude:

Dear Mr Elliot, I wont to come on you’re journalism course this summer, I leave university this summer. I am expected to get a 2:1 in my media studies degree.

I would like to write about football for one of the national newspapers after the course, prefarably the Sunday Times, and cover mainly Manchester United, I am an big fan. I notice that you advice people to get some work experience, I hav’nt been able to do this because of my degree, but my tutor’s have praised my writing and I am sure I have what it takes to be a journalist.

Your’s sincerely …

His tutors have praised his writing! I find it amazing that whilst people complain about the universities putting up their fees, no-one seems to question the quality of education offered. It’s not good, although admittedly our universities are the next step on the educational ladder from some of the worst schools in Europe; so they can’t be entirely blamed.

50 years of school comprehensivization (an ugly word for an ugly policy) has done enormous damage to the prospects of children across the country. How else do you explain an exam answer like this? In midevil times most people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile ages was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature. Or this one: H20 is hot water. CO2 is cold water. I wish I could say

I’d made them up, but unfortunately this is the standard of teaching today in Britain’s schools.


chief editor


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