Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25th 2013 – 330,000 8 and 9 year olds are sitting for a National Exam now that will affect their future. Is that a right of passage or a gross violation of their Human Rights?

Personally I have long felt that these youngsters requiring a pass mark of 150+ out of 200, are unjustly pressurized (more like forced) at too young an age to compete in a national exam, the results of which will determine if they can go to a better school, and if the marks are high enough, and there are sufficient places to Royal and Visakha, the all boys, and all girls school that requires the highest marks.

One must remember that tuition and coaching for this exam start two years earlier, that is at about age 7, where they are sent to special classes to help them achieve a high mark at these exams.

Firstly I question the need for such a competitive exam at too young an age.
Secondly I question segregation of students into different schools arising from this.
Thirdly I question that as people mature at different ages many gifted students who fail to qualify may unfairly underestimate their capabilities as they may be led to believe that they failed.
Fourthly, the pressure put on by parents may permanently scar the under achievers, who are at the most vulnerable and impressionable stage into a mental breakdown of sorts.
Fifthly, focused study at this early age stifles children’s creative talents, and prevents the establishment of a creative, thinking, and energetic class of intelligentsia essential to compete in the global workplace.
Finally can one give one advantage of this exam to this country where we believe it has resulted in a highly educated, visionary competitive workforce!

Some schools have prevented students who are clearly not up to the mark to sit this exam so that their individual performance percentages look good, and thereby falsify their true value. Students are asked, and remember till their deathbed what their mark at the year 5 scholarship exam was till their dying day even though they may not remember their O level and A level grades! That shows the indelible impact this exam has on the individual psyche.   

Let us just drop this exam once and for all, and not change it from a memory test to an aptitude, IQ or intelligence test that may pick future stars most likely to succeed than this exam. It has been proved that the mark here IS NOT an indicator of those who will get into the University system, as the chance of those below the pass mark getting into University is no different from those who pass!!


sbarrkum said...

A different view
When my dad was a kid in Scotland, Britain was practicing a very successful exam system called 11-plus. Dad came from a huge working-class family and as is often the case, one of them had an IQ much higher than the others. They all took their 11-plus test at age 11. His brothers did fairly poorly and he did incredibly well. The brothers were then diverted from academia and put into trade schools, whereas my father got scholarships for private school and eventually got a degree in physics from Glasgow University. The brothers did very well working at a printing press and now lead fulfilled lives as proud tradesmen. My father went on to develop sonar equipment that called the Russians’ nuclear-submarine bluff and helped lead to the fall of communism. This was all thanks to the 11-plus system and it worked beautifully for over 30 years until 1976 when the egalitarians decided it was cruel to admit that some kids are simply not as smart as others.

As Hemingway put it, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Have you ever seen a genius at a water park? He’s miserable. The only time people with an IQ over 120 are really happy is when they’re at work. They’re basically our slaves. Dumb people ride ATVs with their sons, go bungee jumping, and laugh their heads off when somebody farts. Many of them are also rich.

Anonymous said...

the biggest problem in sri lanka today with regards to education is ethics, or should I say lack of them. the sri lankan populace on mass today is one of the least ethical in the history of the island, since our yakka ancestors were solitary hunters in the vast lankan wilderness. today's lankan may be a highly educated one, but is on mass a highly unethical one, and as Gandhi pointed out, an education without ethics is a very dangerous combination -- or is it? in today's lankan society, ethics seem to be a paralysis on the behavior of those in their possession which turns out to be a major strategic disadvantage when it comes to the competitive world of business. in today's business environment, who are the richest people in sri lanka? even in our history it was our toddy tapping ancestors that rose to the highest levels of wealth in the society. today it's alcohol, drugs, casinos, tobacco, and insider dealing that are enriching our business tycoons while those lone ethical people are left talking to the wind as pockets are being lined. if sri lanka is to have any hope, we need to start inculcating our future generations with a strong sense of ethics or else we're right back to where we started -- yakkas living in fancy clothes.

Anonymous said...

we'd like to see a statement from you regarding the recent provincial council elections and the state of the nation. do the results reflect a recognition of the problems which face the country or are they yet another indication of the tribal nature of our society? are the children of ministers the best people to be leading the next generation of leaders or should the next generation come from accomplished professionals? are the results in the north indicative of future ethnic divisions? how are the youth perceiving their futures? are they politically active? how about women????