Are those horrible Russians cheating by getting their children to read? Image credit: Rosman
OK – must stress this is satire. Too many people seem to have adopted the slogan “Question Less” in their approach to the news media, particularly on reports. like this one.
Don’t want anyone to go away with the wrong idea.
I came across this piece on the Blogmire – Results of International Literacy Study Reveal Yet More Attempts by Russia to Meddle in Western Democracies and Undermine Our Way of Life. Written by the Blogmire’s resident Russia expert, Russ O’Phobe:
The recent news that Russia has topped the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS), has sent shockwaves through the civilised world, with analysts believing that this is yet more evidence of a mendacious scheme by the Kremlin to destroy our values and way of life.
The study, which is based on tests taken every five years, measures literacy rates amongst 10-year-olds around the world, with around 320,000 children across the globe sitting the tests. According to the most recent results, Russian children came in first, whilst children from more enlightened countries, such as the US, UK and Canada were much further down the list. Western analysts are in agreement that this simply cannot be the case, given the vast amounts of money pumped into the education systems of those countries every year.
According to a spokesperson for the British Government’s Department of Education, the results provide yet further evidence of Russian meddling and manipulation, this time using innocent children as pawns in a sinister game:
“As everyone knows, whilst Britain has a world class education system that is the envy of every nation, Russia is a poor country where nothing works and everyone is force-fed a constant diet of Kremlin propaganda. Given that this is the case, we simply refuse to believe that it is possible for Russian children to have better reading results than British children, and it is obvious to us that the explanation for these results must be a more sinister one.”
One theory put forward is that the Kremlin has been running a state-sponsored duping campaign, whereby the results from the reading tests have been manipulated and falsified to give Russian children higher marks than their Western counterparts. The theory has been put forward by Dr. Georgy Rodzyanko, who used to work in the Russian Department for Education, before fleeing the country after being arrested for corruption – a charge that is almost certainly trumped up.
According to Dr. Rodzyanko, who has recently been undergoing treatment for psychological problems, this is exactly what happened, and on the basis of his testimony there have been calls for Russia to be banned from future PIRLS tests.
Another explanation is that the results are actually real, but that they have come about only as the result of a nefarious plot to get children to learn their letters and develop an interest in reading from very early ages. According to some analysts, whilst many Western toddlers are being taught real life skills, such as learning how to use an iPhone and questioning their gender, Russian children are being forced to learn the alphabet. It is even thought that some Russian parents may even be reading books to them regularly from an early age.
According to one anonymous source in the US Department of Education, if this is the case it represents a systematic scheme to undermine the West by making its education systems and methods of parenting look shabby:
“The PIRLS study shows that Russia will stop at nothing to undermine our values, even if that means teaching their children in ways that the modern world long ago rejected. It is a clear attempt to meddle with our democratic system, by sowing the seeds of doubt in people’s minds that the huge sums of money we spend on education might be largely wasted. This is a clear threat to our way of life and you can be sure that we will not let them get away with it.”
To back up that threat, the Governments of the US, UK, Canada and the EU are considering placing more sanctions on Russia. This would include banning the export of exercise books and pens to the country. It could also see a ban on imports to Western countries of the works of authors such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, in order to try to prevent the spread of literacy.
In addition, a joint international inquiry has been set up to deal with the threat. Amongst other things, it will be looking into the claim that Kremlin trolls have been attempting to undermine literacy rates in Western countries by advertising the works of Russian authors on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.