MICHAEL Gove, the Westminster Education Secretary, plans to take the primary schools in his charge back to the 1950s.
He wants pupils to be proficient in the three Rs. From the age of five they will be able to recite poetry. They will go on to have a grounding in maths and science, speak foreign languages, and even study Latin and Greek.
Gove is a product of the Scottish education system and obviously pines for the days when he was a loon at primary school in Aberdeen. In a return to traditional values in the classroom, the New Gove generation will learn their tables and get to grips with fractions and decimal points. They will be up to their oxters in grammar, spelling and punctuation including apostrophe's. (Only kidding with that last bit.)
I am sure Scottish education is safe in the hands of oor ain Michael Russell and his quest for excellence. But to be on the safe side maybe we should raise the bar for our pupils.
By the end of primary three all bairns should have mastered the 19 times table and know how to divide five and three-eighths by 1.75. They should be able to recite Tam O'Shanter by rote and know what rote means.
By primary five they should have a working knowledge of Homer's Iliad and be able to explain dactylic hexameters to mum and dad. In mental arithmetic they will learn to divide and multiply Roman numerals.
By primary seven, pupils should know how to do trigonometry as well as how to spell it. They should be familiar with the ongoing European banking crisis and be able to discuss sustainable financial models in Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Italian, and Irish Gaelic.
In the field of science, pupils should not leave primary school without an opinion as to whether all those physicists got it wrong with the Hadron Collider.
Such progress cannot be achieved by schools alone. Parents must encourage weans to pursue knowledge at home. Getting them reading is vital. Make sure the little ones keep their bedroom lights on and devour books into the early hours of the morning. If they get tired prop their eyes open with matchsticks.
Basically, if the kids don't have pencil callouses on their fingers from doing homework mum and dad are guilty of neglect.
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