Teachers’ howlers

EIGHTY-SIX PERCENT of 14,110 teachers competing for Madrid posts failed a general knowledge test.

The last exams or “oposiciones” were held in November 2011 and just 1,913 of the interim teachers hoping to become established passed every section.  Questions corresponded to the standard expected of 12-year-olds.

Seniority contributed almost 46.8 per cent of a pass-mark at that time, compared with knowledge (36.1 per cent) and “other merits” (16.1 per cent).

The Madrid regional government intends to modify this when exams for 350 teaching posts are held this summer.

“Experience is valuable, but only after standards of basic knowledge have been confirmed,” said Lucia Figar, head of the region’s Education department.

In November 2011, only 1.8 per cent of the teachers were able to name the provinces crossed by the Duero, Ebro and Guadalquivir rivers.  A further 87 per cent could not break down a sentence into parts of speech and 93 per cent did not know how to convert 2.3 kilos into grammes.

She is “particularly worried” about the level of maths displayed during the 2011 selection process, Figar admitted.

Her worries are possibly justified: “If a pair of spectacles costs €185 more than the case and both items together cost €235, how much do the glasses cost?” teachers were asked.   “The glasses cost €235 because they always give you the case,” came one reply.

“It is inadmissible for teachers not to know the subjects they teach,” added Madrid’s regional president Ignacio Gonzalez.”

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