For a time the “Saudi Arabia” of South America, today Venezuela more closely resembles Syria. Economically destroyed and socially unstable, the country is now fighting an ever more alarming spectre: hunger. In the slum of Petare in the metropolitan area of the capital, Caracas, refrigerators remain empty, supermarket queues grow longer and the necessity of procuring something to eat drives young people to violence. Community volunteers serve food to children at a kitchen run by Alimenta la Solidaridad, a local NGO working in Petare, in February 2019. A member of a kidnapping gang watches through the window to avoid a potential police raid. He is 15 years old and joined the gang to support his family. Many come together in armed gangs, plunder houses and shops, rob food from passersby and are paid in foodstuffs. Unsustainable inflation has caused prices to double week after week; today, nine out of 10 Venezuelans do not feel they have the sufficient resources to buy … [Read more...] about Venezuela’s revolution of hunger: a photo essay
Education never ends essay
The criteria by which nurseries, schools and colleges in England are assessed are about to undergo a huge overhaul, with new measures installed by Ofsted, the government’s education watchdog, aiming to shift the focus of its reports away from exam results, as of September. “There is a limit to what you can do with quantitative measurement,” says Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman. “You can get to a point where if you try to hang too much weight on any quantitative measurement then you will start to buckle under the strain.” Ofsted’s role, according to Spielman, is “not to reinforce or put additional pressure on teachers to achieve certain numbers.” Rather, it is to “provide insight into how education is delivered.” Spielman, a Cambridge maths graduate, is unlike her predecessors. She has never been a teacher – something that was criticised by trade unions at the time of her appointment in January 2017. But … [Read more...] about Amanda Spielman on box-ticking, coursework and the importance of a “rounded” education
Julie Burchill 26 January 2019 9:00 AM 26 January 2019 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp On reading recently that Italian is the fastest disappearing language in America, my thoughts were mixed. I felt fleeting sorrow that such a beautiful lingo would be heard less. Between 2001 and 2017, there has been a reduction of 38 per cent — and this during a period when the proportion of Americans who speak a second language at home actually rose from 11 per cent to 22 per cent. But on the bright side, it demonstrates the assimilation of Italian-Americans, always an excellent thing for immigrants. Groups who cling to the Old Ways and then complain of not making progress in their chosen home are as ridiculous as a man who ties his feet together and then complains that outside forces are making him hop. There was, however, no silver lining when I read that in the UK, Pizza Express is in peril, having to pay off a whopping £650 million … [Read more...] about Britain has fallen out of love with Italy – as have the Italians
Early one Saturday morning when I was twelve, my father rustled me awake. I patted my bedside table for my tortoise-shell glasses, then rose heavy-footed to pull on a sweatshirt and lace up my sneakers. I maneuvered past the sleeping dogs on the floor of the kitchen and tiptoed over the detritus of muddy boots and Lego. I climbed into the truck and the high rumble of the muffler echoed through the morning mist. My father made the right onto Route 4, and we wound our way through those dark roads, passing Southern Calvert Baptist and the AME church and dozens of tobacco farms, the plants barely visible beneath the mist. At the 7-Eleven, bearded men in camouflage jackets sipped from Styrofoam cups of coffee as they gassed up, raising a two-fingered salute at the passing cars. My father was in his prime then — tall, black-bearded, broad-shouldered, his thick body mostly muscle. He knew the names of all the trees, sassafras and birch, poplar and oak. He could pick out a hawk from a … [Read more...] about My fundamentalist childhood: less like a temple, more like a cage
Kate Chisholm 3 November 2018 9:00 AM 3 November 2018 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp You may have noticed that BBC iPlayer (for radio programmes) has been replaced this week with the new BBC Sounds platform. Instead of simply finding your favourite programmes on playback, BBC Sounds will offer you the chance to personalise your listening, discover programmes recommended ‘just for you’, catch up with the latest podcasts. On Monday, James Purnell, director of radio and education at the BBC, talked up the new venture with Martha Kearney on the Today programme. ‘All of BBC audio will be at your fingertips,’ he promised. ‘We will do the hard work of getting the right programmes to you at the right time.’ ‘Won’t this involve taking money away from existing budgets?’ asked Kearney, concerned that ‘live’ radio will miss out in this drive to create more online-only content. The … [Read more...] about Why has BBC Radio been replaced by ‘BBC Sounds’?