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This week's letters Language lesson

Letters

I refer to the President's concern about what he sees as an unacceptably high failure rate in Professional Reviews and would remind him of the attention given to this subject in the mid-70s which resulted in the suitability of the review system being confirmed.

Francis Walley felt so strongly about the essay element that he endowed an essay prize when he retired from being director of civil engineering in PSA in 1979. The annual award of his prize became a feature of the graduate training year. The effort was justified and rewarded as the essay pass rate much improved.

A proper appreciation of the language can only come with maturity and experience, sometimes bitter, and that needs to be accepted, but a good standard should be demanded of candidates for election if only because it is the only time when a check on performance can be made.

Let us look again at the system, by all means, and test that the standards being demanded are appropriate but let us do this before we make hard judgements on failure rates or proposing system adjustments.

A good knowledge of the English language is fundamental to effective performance within the profession and we should not be mealy mouthed about saying so. Perhaps candidates need to be reminded of this and be given more effective encouragement.

Ron Hughes, 9A The Street, West Horsley, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT24 6AY

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