Imperial Measurements Back in British Schools

I found this article in the Telegraph, courtesy of Instapundit and I thought it was interesting.

Ministers said that a new curriculum “goes further” than previous documents drawn up under Labour by requiring schools to place imperial units at the heart of maths lessons.

Under new plans, a draft primary school syllabus requires pupils to understand and use the “basic equivalencies” between metric and common imperial systems.

The document also makes greater reference to miles to make sure children are fully aware of the standard measurement of speed and distance on British roads, it was revealed.

It represents a partial return to the mid-70s when state schools were first required to prioritise the metric system over imperial.

Andrew Percy, the Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, who obtained the latest information, said: “Of course children should learn metric, but I’m concerned there isn’t enough focus on the prominence of imperial given that it is the lawful measurement of almost everything we do in this country.

“The fact is, it is illegal to use anything but imperial measures on the roads. When you get into your car, you measure petrol in miles per gallon, speed in miles per hour, road exits are in yards and the height of bridges is in feet and inches.

“Beyond that, we buy our beer and milk in pints and measure our height in feet and inches, so it is vital that we properly teach our children about imperial measurements.”

I didn’t know that the British used the old system at all. I thought they had converted entirely to metric. The Imperial system is not quite the same as the traditional system used here in the US because the Imperial system was standardized in 1824, after the US obtained independence. I don’t think there is much difference between the two. I agree that the metric system is the more scientific and rational system, but I think I prefer the traditional measurements. Inches, based on the thumb, yards, based on arm span, and feet, based on, well feet, seem to be more natural and intuitive. The metric system seems tome to be a product of the French Revolution with its passion for abolishing traditions and customs in favor of reinventing society on a rational basis from the year zero. Inches, feet pounds just seem more natural than centimeters and kilograms. But,maybe I am just being too set in my ways. If so, I am not the only one in America, given our continuing resistance to meticication.


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