Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Education not all about excelling in Exams only

Glorify a few,encourage the majority

The results of SPM examination 2006 were just released. We witnessed the happiness of those students who scored maximum As. We should all congratulate them for the achievements which were the result of long hours of hard work and sacrifice. There were those who grieved just because they fell short of the maximum by just a single A. Then there were those who lamented they could not obtain their targeted 17 or 18 As. We should really appreciate the zeal and determination of these high achievers.

In the midst of all the joy and glory, we tend to forget the vast majority, many from the lower income families, who obtained just average results and a equally large number who just managed to scrape through with a pass. There are also many who miserably failed their examinations. We should not only sympathise with them but go all out to encourage them in whatever way we can. After all success is meaningless without failure.

Today school examinations have become like a race where we we go all out to spend large amount of time, money and energy to ensure our children win with flying colours.It is a pity that this race is not a fair one as it is weighted against to those who are monetarily handicapped and cannot afford the exorbitant fees for tuition.

It has become a practice of our media to over glorify those who score maximum A’s in their examination but neglect those who despite their disadvantaged position manage to get above average results. They encourage the notion that collecting maximum A’s, is education and life are all about. This practice of the media aggravates the ill effects of the already examination orientated education system of ours.

We must realize that these top scorers are just a small percentage of the total student population. The majority are the average scorers with 4-6A’s.However much we encourage and coax our students, only a few will become maximum scorers and this is a fact of life we all have to accept.

These high achievers must be rewarded accordingly, but it is equally important to ensure the others are also taken care. It is more important to encourage the majority to excel in things for which they have a liking and aptitude. Opportunities must be made available to these students as well.

By over glorifying these top scorers, tremendous psychological pressure is placed on the majority to ape them. This causes a great amount of stress on students in school these days. Those with average or even above average result are made to feel useless and a failure in school. From experience we know that success in examination does not necessarily guarantee success in life.

Every school should have qualified counselors to educate and help students overcome the trauma of examinations. Even those who fail miserably should not be discouraged. They should be shown other opportunities available to them, in which they can excel.

Let us, parents, teachers and all members of society, reinforce ourselves that schools are for educating the minds of our young men and women and not a place to collect As it appears to be at present.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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