Finland gives up on handwriting

Pieter_Claeszoon_-_Still_Life_with_a_Skull_and_a_Writing_QuillThe home of Nokia, Finland has decided to give up teaching handwriting, in favour of typing courses.

The Savon Sanomat newspaper reports that from autumn 2016 cursive handwriting will no longer be a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Instead the schools will teach keyboard skills and “texting”.

Actually, keyboard skills are surprisingly less common than most people think. Most people “pick up” typing and really have no idea what home keys are and some of the other black arts imparted by jack-booted typing teachers in schools. “Touch typing” produces speeds of 126 words per minute.

Some countries already provide an opportunity for students to learn to type properly, many others treat the whole idea as a low-level skill that can simply be “picked up.”

The teachers that the Savon Sanomat newspaper spoke to said that children would benefit from the changes to the curriculum, and that attention would be paid to those kids who may not have access to the same kind of modern-day gadgetry at home as their peers. Minna Harmanen, of Finland’s National Board of Education, said that fluent typing was an important “civic skill” that every child should learn.

Of course this does mean that we will be raising a generation of children who cannot leave a note on the fridge and might not be able to carve their own names in the desks at school.