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Today’s lesson (10 Apr) was an introduction to comprehension skills, with a focus on assessment criteria and reading practice.

The lesson slides (including the extra material) will be uploaded onto Dropbox, but the details (and more) are already in your skills package.

The text used for the reading practice (original blog post here) will also be the basis for the discussion next Monday, on the question “Does meritocracy lead to equality”? For further reference, this other article takes a more balanced approach in examining Singapore’s meritocratic system, while a more direct defence of meritocracy is in this article here.

An interesting point of view, as well, in a 2013 Princeton commencement speech by Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve:

The concept of success leads me to consider so-called meritocracies and their implications. We have been taught that meritocratic institutions and societies are fair. Putting aside the reality that no system, including our own, is really entirely meritocratic, meritocracies may be fairer and more efficient than some alternatives. But fair in an absolute sense? Think about it. A meritocracy is a system in which the people who are the luckiest in their health and genetic endowment; luckiest in terms of family support, encouragement, and, probably, income; luckiest in their educational and career opportunities; and luckiest in so many other ways difficult to enumerate–these are the folks who reap the largest rewards. The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others. As the Gospel of Luke says (and I am sure my rabbi will forgive me for quoting the New Testament in a good cause): “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” (Luke 12:48, New Revised Standard Version Bible). Kind of grading on the curve, you might say.

Note that while education is of course relevant to this question, it is only one of many topics.