An education system gone wrong

The other day, Primary Leaving Examination results were released. There was a lot of hullabaloo about the first grades and honestly, you cannot pour water on someone’s achievements. However, my concern is with schools that focused on the first-grade results, leaving out those in other divisions. Eh, even those that had just two in their Division Two bracket forgot about them. I feel sorry for these pupils who I am sure did their best to get these results. No one, in a world where the talk about mental health is rife, has thought about these children. So sad!

Today, as you pass by some school gates, you will see a canvass with the children’s names and their grades while others have changed their mottos to, ‘the school that guarantees you 4’. Has it come to that? By the way, what happened to maintaining our children’s privacy? Or do we assume that their results are now public property?

Gone are the days when it was crucial to have a wholesome child. That meant that music, dance and drama were held dear not forgetting sports or physical education (PE). In those days, sportswear was not just an idle piece of uniform as there were days it was worn with a purpose. Today, it is class, studying, copying notes, doing revision tests, extra classes and even earlier waking hours. I can see that the adage, “All work without play makes Jack a dull boy” is long forgotten.

Children today barely have any social skills because they are fighting tooth and nail to cram one SST fact or memorise the alimentary canal. They do not know what it means to play seven stones or dodgeball because they must finish five homework packages lest they are lashed. How will we deal with obesity then?

I am reminded of a teacher that once told me that going to church on Sunday was not going to help me get a D1 in Maths. Then, it sounded sacrilegious. However, today, it is the norm.

I worry for these young ones because they have not been given a chance to discover themselves; appreciate the gifts they have within and develop them. What happens when the learnt course does not lead to immediate employment? Who will feed them?

With salaries often not enough to fend for a family, what does this answer-parroting child-turned adult do for a side hustle?

Before assuming they are thriving at work, how does this child know how to work in teams, be creative or become a critical thinker when all they were taught is to answer examination papers? Employers, more than ever before, are looking for employees that have more to bring on the table than papers. The learnt truth is that while skills can be learnt, character cannot be changed.

So, dear parent, while having great grades is amazing, take time to ensure you build that child’s character and manners so they can thrive in a world that has educated people but longs for disciplined and truthful people.

Dear educationist, you can get good grades while still teaching the child handy work through a crafts class, growing vegetables and rearing animals.

Joan S

A blogger, journalist, parenting coach


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