Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

Changes in education are not for the worse

It is more than a little insulting for your columnist Fionola Meredith to suggest, simply because exams are now taken in a modular format, that pupils' understanding of the topic is any way lessened (Comment, August 31).

Learning huge whacks to sit a final exam does not constitute a greater understanding than learning it in smaller parts; it simply means you can memorise more - and is understanding not more important than memorising?

Also, perhaps my experience of economics and trying to grasp the various factors affecting the cross-price elasticity of demand of various goods and services within a competitive free market economy would remove the illusion that modern lessons are taught in 'bite-sized chunks of information that go down like sweeties'.

Universities recognise that some people are generally better at regurgitating facts than genuinely understanding their subject. So when Fionola says universities have an 'obsession with exam results at the expense of all else', she is clearly wrong.

I can say that having the drive to focus on studying for three or four years is just as important as simple exam results.

GCSE is mostly to do with regurgitation of facts, but A-Level is different. Our schools have at least one redeeming feature in that A-Level students are encouraged to read around their subjects.

Education has most certainly changed, but that does not mean that it has worsened.


Wallace High School, Lisburn


From Belfast Telegraph