Sir Bob Jones
Commentary on issues of the day from the property tycoon, author and former politician

Bob Jones: Smash some education into them, Hekia


Frequently lessons arise from abroad which should be exploited here. Take the uplifting report from America that a not-too-bright 10-year-old boy, accidentally smashed senseless from a blow across the head with a baseball bat, as a consequence has developed Einstein-like mathematical powers.

Sydney University neuropsychologist Dr Allan Snyder, commenting on this, suggested these skills are latent in everyone and simply need unlocking. I agree, thus the obvious action for our education authorities is to have a baseball bat-wielding team bash all our 10-year-olds senseless and in a decade we'll have a race of mathematical geniuses.

There'd also be ancillary benefits, such as a few months' peace while they're comatose, plus saving on maths teachers' salaries, they now being available to do more creative things, such as becoming gardeners in our parks and suchlike.

In the interest of scientific inquiry we should then repeat the exercise with cricket bats, cricket being more artistic than baseball, and doubtless they will emerge from comas able to recite the complete works of Shakespeare, play the violin and sing like Callas.

Then there's the report from Croatia of a woman emerging from a coma, also brought about by a smack over the head, and finding she's fluent in German, a language hitherto alien to her. That said, further research is needed. I say that as the Croatian lady is now unable to speak her native tongue. Still, it's a good trade-off, as speaking German is more useful than Croatian, as borne out by the millions of kids being taught German but no one anywhere learning Croatian.

So, if we repeatedly lay into our kids and hospitalise them in comas, as I'm sure Dr Snyder would recommend, in the course of time we can eliminate schools altogether.

None of this is revolutionary, as borne out by the centuries' old adage to knock some sense into misbehaving children. And think how often we read of blind people who've fallen down stairs and instantly had their sight restored. So instead of wasting blind folks' time teaching them Braille and basket-weaving, they should instead be repeatedly pushed down stairs until eventually cured.

Unlike Dr Snyder and other neurologists, I've known all of this for 30 years. I say that, mindful of the Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo who twice went the distance with Muhammad Ali. George was not noted for his defensive skills as he had none and instead blocked every punch with his face. But he simply grinned and kept coming, his opponents eventually succumbing through exhaustion from repeatedly hitting him.

George came from a rough background, was uneducated, unsophisticated and spoke coarsely, that is when he spoke at all. But as his career progressed and he received ever more blows to his head, so too his speech became refined, his wit and intellect sharp and today, in his mid-70s, he's full-time lecturing at North American universities in exquisitely modulated English, all of this providing overwhelming evidence of the good things arising from repeated beatings to one's skull.

Introducing a children's comatosing programme could lead to a new golden age of artistry and intellectuality, save billions annually wasted on schools and, after the 10-year-olds emerge from their comas, have them in the workforce doing amazing things to the benefit of us all.

But what of their physical development, I hear you ask? I've got that covered as well. Take rugby, for example. The average 80-minute match in fact lasts about 15 minutes, the rest of the time comprising hanging about listening to show-pony referees playing whistle concertos, which is why it's now unwatchable. Just as a damn good crack over the skull can complete kids' education, both literally and figuratively in a stroke, so too we can condense their physical development by again taking lessons from abroad. In this respect I refer to a recent report from Brazil.

In a soccer match there, a referee red-carded a player who protested, whereupon the ref pulled out a knife and killed him. This resulted in the dead player's supporters taking to the referee, removing his head and mounting it on a stake in the middle of the field, whereupon the game resumed without his busybody interference.

We need that enterprise here.

We should encourage children to murder time-wasting referees, thus condensing a decade's physical activity into about six months. Furthermore, given they're now all geniuses, this will align with their corresponding evolved libertarian scorn for rules and regulations.

No Cabinet minister has copped as much criticism as Hekia Parata, but by adopting the above enlightened initiatives she can redeem herself overnight and go from pariah to worldwide recognition as the greatest educationist in history. As this would mean the end of her principal tormentors, namely school-teachers, I suspect she might be in for it.

- NZ Herald

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