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Poor use of English even extends to politicians

Lack of ability in the use of English is a handicap which has beset Northern Ireland job-seekers for some years, but the situation now appears to be worsening exponentially (News, August 31).

As an employer, I find it frustrating that even teaching graduates do not know their 'seen' from their 'saw' or their 'did' from their 'done'. Apostrophes seem to be even less understood.

It is also embarrassing to sit around the conference table with foreign visitors who speak much better English than the locals across the table.

I fail to see how we can boast with any credibility that we have an education system which is second to none when so many people here lack the ability, or the desire, to improve their sloppy performance in their mother tongue.

The fact that our politicians' performance appears to be worse than average probably means that we can expect no real enthusiasm at Stormont, or in our council chambers, for tackling this major problem.

With these issues in mind, I wrote to the principal of Stranmillis College a few years ago in the hope that they might be addressed, initially among our student teachers. Sadly, the reply I received, while courteous, was totally dismissive of my concerns.

Our MLAs need to swallow their pride and urgently undertake some basic training and examination before cascading the initiative to our councils, universities, colleges and schools.


Bangor, Co Down


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