Writ­ing a mas­sive wrong

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Letters -

Ev­ery busi­ness in Aus­tralia has ev­i­dence that points to a wor­ry­ing de­cline in the stan­dards of lit­er­acy among our young peo­ple.

That ev­i­dence is in the form of job ap­pli­ca­tion let­ters, which of­ten in­di­cate ex­tremely weak com­mand of ba­sic writ­ten English. Many prospec­tive em­ploy­ees are lit­er­ally writ­ing off their chances of ob­tain­ing work due to lam­en­ta­ble spell­ing and gram­mar.

Those low stan­dards evolve from poor in­struc­tion, of­ten be­gin­ning at very young ages. To ad­dress this, fed­eral Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham be­lieves an “over­whelm­ing case” has been made for lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy checks for all Aus­tralian school­child­ren — in­clud­ing Year 1 stu­dents.

This may seem to some to place sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure upon very young stu­dents but, if ad­min­is­tered prop­erly and with care, any test­ing should clearly be with an aim for dis­cov­ery rather than stress or judg­ment.

“The idea behind these checks is to en­sure stu­dents don’t slip through the cracks,” Birm­ing­ham said.

The suc­cess of this ini­tia­tive will hope­fully be seen in fu­ture job ap­pli­ca­tions.

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