Thursday, September 13, 2012

When money is the bottom line...

... so the Government in 1975 hit in the bright idea of providing all schoolbooks to the under-16's. As we were the guinea-pigs I remember being thrilled to get brand-new books, not so thrilled to have Burnham's face on the front of my exercise books. OF course, even back then I had a love affair with books and tried not to dirty the pages.  The major flaw in the system was that students were not held accountable for damaged books - this inculcated the 'slave mentality' of free handouts without responsibilities. And bizarre as it seemed to me - other children managed to rip the covers off the textbooks. By the time I progressed to the higher forms the textbooks were a sorry state and you quickly learned to be the first so you could pick the books in better condition if the teacher in charge was lenient. Even then certain books were not enough and you had to buy a few. Certainly the ones for extra lessons!
So flash to the current day - the Government of the day persists in not pulling up those children who do not look after the books properly so that they can be passed on to be re-used by the pupils in the following class. This then becomes a costly exercise.  So in today's newspaper the Cabinet Secretary confesses that they sanction pirated copies -- um-- people you are the Government of the Day - you have to be seen to be doing the right thing. How can they uphold Intellectual property rights while breaking the laws themselves.  In my field, encouraging a foreign company to suck up most of the customers while lowering Standards and not paying any Taxes - what possible message are they sending?   Maybe Government is all about reinventing the wheel?

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