How important is it that we teach our kids how to communicate using ink and paper? These days, typing away at a keyboard or a mobile smartphone is a much more common way of getting a message across, and in light of these new modern modes of communication, Finland has decided to remove cursive handwriting as a compulsory part of its school curriculum.
Instead, students will be taught keyboard typing and even texting skills. While these are undoubtedly useful in today’s jobs market — a faster typer is a more efficient worker, after all — many will be sad to see handwriting cut out altogether. The changes will be introduced at the start of the fall term in 2016, and individual schools can still teach cursive handwriting if they wish to.
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.
Finland is one of the first countries to officially make handwriting lessons optional in favor of more time spent tapping away at keyboards, but it won’t be the last as we adapt to a different way of getting points across — the majority of schools in the U.S. have also voted to phase out cursive writing lessons. The question is, what will happen when a computer or tablet isn’t available and someone needs to leave a note?