Many undergraduates misspell basic words such as "their", "speech" or even "Wednesday" in essays, it is claimed.
First year students are the worst offenders, despite already spending at least 13 years in the education system.
Dr Ken Smith, a senior lecturer in criminology at Bucks New University, said "atrocious" spelling was rife among new undergraduates, with many failing to apply basic rules, such as "i before e, except after c". The words "weird", "seize", "leisure" and "neighbour" are regularly misspelt by students, he said.
The comments come amid growing fears that many sixth-formers are leaving school lacking basic skills.
This is pretty fucking shoddy, right? Still, no doubt Dr Ken Smith will be attacked by John Bangs of the NUT who, if you remember, said...
Michael Gove really has to be careful not to denigrate the high quality of education in England's schools...
Yup, gotta love that high quality of education, eh? As Timmy says...
Pretty good result for that £90 grand odd spent on the little darlings over the years, innit?
My, the intense joys of the government provision of services.
Indeed. But then Dr Ken Smith irritates the crap out of me by proposing a silly solution.
Writing in Times Higher Education magazine, Dr Smith said mistakes were now so common that academics should simply accept them as "variants".
"Teaching a large first-year course at a British university, I am fed up with correcting my students' atrocious spelling," he said. "But why must we suffer? Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea. University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell."
No. That is not the point of education, you nitwit. Look, the English language has evolved as it is in order to wring every nuance of meaning from the words that we have, even from the flexibility of grammatical and syntactical construction. If I may quote Timmy again (criticising the Spelling Society, which we have met before)...
Yes, Inglish Spolling is difficult, weird even, but it does allow us to be precise in our meanings.
Quite. I regard the English language as the finest on the planet because of its flexibility and subtlety, and English people should be able to write and speak their own language. And whilst university professors may regard "variants" as acceptable, many employers will not. And nor will I.
Our company is looking to recruit another designer, and I am in charge of that recruitment process: if I see "variants" on a curriculum vitae, that CV will go straight into the round file. The design market is pretty saturated with candidates: we don't need to hire people who cannot write their own language, no matter what their portfolio is like.
May I suggest an alternative approach for Dr Smith and his friends? That they remove a mark every time a word is misspelled and that they continue to remove marks, possibly on an escalating scale, until the student learns how to fucking spell?
Because, as we all know, incentives matter.
UPDATE: when criticising the Spelling Society, I pointed out that a Classical Education was A Good Thing.
Thus, the SS argue for a simplification of the language. But, on the flipside, I have not needed to spend my precious time expanding my vocabulary by rote, for my knowledge of Latin and Greek allow me to ascertain the likely meaning of complicated words without actually having to sit down and learn them. Hence, our spelling system has saved me time.
Thus, I believe that the fulfillment of the Spelling Society's aims would, in fact, directly lead to a debasement and contraction of the English language and thus conjure a far duller world described with a paucity of linguistic allure.
As such, I would like to thank the email correspondent who sent me a link to this entirely worthy Early Day Motion.
LATIN IN THE PARK
That this House welcomes the initiative of the Iris Project, Latin in the Park, as an excellent opportunity for people from all backgrounds to learn Latin and about ancient culture free of charge in a friendly and relaxed setting; recognises that the project enables adults and families to explore various aspects of ancient culture, such as women in the ancient world, religion, the history of the Roman Republic and other subjects; further recognises that Latin may be viewed as an elite area of study discouraging wider participation; and draws attention to the fact that this initiative promotes access to the classics amongst all and any local communities.
It is indicative of the piss-poor educational attainment and Luddite qualities of our representatives that only 32 of the 646 have bothered to sign this EDM. To put this in perspective, 87 of these rancid, Philistine fuckwits signed the EDM praising Cuba and its evil, Communist rulers.