Feeds

Tom Stoppard: Tech is destroying the written word

Schools do too much science & maths, dammit!

High performance access to file storage

No Vids Heavyweight luvvie Sir Tom Stoppard has said that new technology in the home is destroying children's - and thus society's - appetite for the written word. He also considers that today's educational system places too much emphasis on maths and the sciences at the expense of the humanities.

Stoppard made the remarks while speaking to education reporters at a publicity event ahead of a summer school for teachers in which he will participate*.

"The printed word is no longer as in demand as when I was of the age of pupils or even at the age of the teachers teaching them," complained the noted playwright, author of such stage'n'screen works as Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead and writer of romanta-flick Shakespeare In Love.

Stoppard suggested that new technologies in the home and elsewhere lie behind the flight from writing, blaming the "world of technology" in which kids live and particularly "moving images" for grabbing kids' attention. He is of course at least partly to blame for this himself, having created "every line of dialogue" in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade among others.

The hefty litterateur also gave it as his opinion that education nowadays focuses too much on the sciences, maths and technology and not enough on the humanities.

"There was a period when I was 30 or 40 when science teaching was felt to have lagged and felt to be the area which would improve everybody's life, and I'm sure that that was the case and that was the right moment for that," said Sir Tom.

“Since then we have been more and more worried about the humanities being neglected and at the level of higher education that is a cause of enormous concern.”

Some might take issue with that: the latest figures show 10,000+ students enrolling to study English last year, making it the seventh most popular subject - far ahead of maths, sciences or engineering. Another 7,800 enrolled to study combinations of humanities and languages, and 8,510 more for History.

All in all, at least two students are reading humanities for every one doing actual science - unless you count such extremely popular subjects as Psychology, Computer Science and Sport Science among the sciences.

"I want to support the whole idea of the humanities and teaching the humanities as being something that even if it can't be quantitatively measured as other subjects it's as fundamental to all education," Stoppard reportedly added. ®

*Any corduroys wishing to participate will need to cough up £95 to the Prince's Teaching Institute, whose mission is to make teachers more inspiring.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.