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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jargon blast for reports

The Mercury: Jargon blast for reports [02dec05]

THE wording of school reports about to be distributed to the parents of all school children in Tasmania has again come under fire for its lack of clarity and plain English.

In Question Time in State parliament yesterday, Liberal education spokesman Peter Gutwein quoted from an unidentified North-West high school newsletter, in which parents were informed that the school reports would be difficult to read and understand.

But, in an apparently official message from the Education Department, parents were asked to be patient with the educational language used in the reports and its propensity for jargon.

``Please note the language of these (reports) is difficult,'' the newsletter said.

``Attempts to put the statement into `everyday English' have failed because the distinctions between them start to get lost.

``Teachers, however, are used to using this language and have spent much time coming to agreements how statements are interpreted.''

Mr Gutwein said the newsletter showed the Government and Education Minister Paula Wriedt had a ``patronising'' approach to parents.

``This statement quite clearly shows that Minister Wriedt does simply not understand or does not want to understand the concept of plain English,'' he said.

``Instead of helping out parents by using easy-to-read language in communications with them, Minister Wriedt appears to have resorted to a patronising and condescending approach to communicating with parents.''

Ms Wriedt told the Lower House she was committed to helping explain the jargon and new educational terms used in the reports to parents.

``But you need to recognise that a change of the magnitude that we are providing to the education system in Tasmania is very complex, and not all of it can be broken down to the base level,'' she said.


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