Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Latest developments in the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam imbroglio

The Govt. made an embarrassing turnaround at the last Cabinet Meeting, that they have not decided to scrap the Grade 5 exam, and will make it more realistic bearing in mind the needs of the students to which the exam applies.

If you have been reading my blog, I have discussed the Grade 5 exam, and am of the firm opinion that it should be scrapped in its present form. It is unneeded, too mentally traumatic, and the beneficiaries are about 3% of those who sit who get a transfer to a school, which they otherwise would not. It is useless to 97% who sit the exam. So why subjugate 97% of the 330,000, 9 and 10 year olds when only 10,000 at MOST benefit even with scholarships!

I found it amusing that one of the main opponents of the scrapping, was a highly intelligent son of School Principal and (high IQ) WPC minister of the Hela Urumaya, Udaya Gammanpilla, who was able to enter DS Senanayake, Colombo, due to his Grade 5 exam results, and then went on to top the Country in his A levels, resulting in a scholarship to Monash in Australia!

No one denies he benefitted, as an intelligent child, who is exposed to a school with peers of high caliber and facilities to match is better able to maximize on this. So instead of Monash, a scholarship to Harvard may have changed his perspective on life, from the inward looking highly defensive sense of insecurity he has brought back and proposed a more intelligent alternative. The Country must have a plan of getting the most out of this type of person. Look at where Udaya ended up, what a waste of an intelligent mind, reduced to being an opposition within Government, this truly is Sri Lanka. 

Should so many suffer for the personal interests of a few like Udaya Gammanpila? 

The main reason for the retaining this exam is for the school the child can enter, if he is a scholar, and that it would be denied if this exam was scrapped. In the emotive language of the day, the Teachers Union maintains it denies the opportunity for the poor child to get to the best school in the Country, if he is good enough! That is all a load of rubbish.

One does not need the Grade 5 exam for that, as a truly intelligent child IF recognized by these useless teachers that the Teachers Union represents, can and will be grabbed by a school which wants high achieving kids, to show how good they are. It is just because we have a low quality of teacher, even at the so called top tier schools, who cannot identify intelligent, as opposed to rote learners, that they wish to pass the buck to the Year 5 Scholarship!

Even if the exam is changed from a memory test to a true intelligence test, the stress on parents and children as a whole is not worth the benefit the majority gain.

In fact as 90% of the students who sit this exam do not even achieve their District pass mark, no matter what semantics the Education Minister engages in to claim the pass mark is 75 out of 200 and not 155! 

So again this is the Govt. playing politics with the lives of our future, namely the highly curious, intelligent youth of Sri Lanka, who we have turned into frightened mama tities, who cannot stand up straight when they enter a room.

I know, I interview many of them daily, and realize that at 25 they still have their parents hold their hands trying to find jobs for them, without them having to open their mouths. What kind of society do we want? This is by the way with all having sat the Grade and will carry the mark they received till their dying day especially if they did not receive the District pass mark. An HR violation if ever there was one!

We are NOT all born with silver spoons, but we can give all our youth a level of confidence that will give them the ability to know their strengths, and pursue practical goals and achieve satisfaction and fulfillment. A grade 5 exam of any sort is NOT the way to do this. A good Free Education is!

I had proposed if we must have an exam, to have one at say Grade 9, but it seems that due to the primary school ending at Grade 5, and they are the one’s closer to home (theoretically) and secondary schools, (the future being the top 1000 schools) in larger population centers to enable teachers and students access, this is not a practical method of picking and dumping the bright ones at the top schools.

Some also say that the poor kids NEED the scholarships to help them study. Another bull shit point, where the scholarship DOES not go to needy, just to a very few high mark students. This can easily be done where the top 3 kids in each Grade 5 in every school are given a scholarship, enabling the poor kid from a village school a chance, where in the Grade 5 he may not have got a district pass mark, as he could not afford the tuition, nor had good teachers, or scholarly parents, all factors in the education exam passing game!

Let us NOT try to pussyfoot around and pamper some egotistical beneficiaries of the Grade 5 to punish 320,000 youngsters into an unnecessary exam, and instead allow a fairer basis of scholarship. There could be an entrance exam at all top schools (Best 100) where they MUST take the top 15 who sit the exam to that school, and give them a scholarship too. 

In this way those who wish to go to that school will only apply, a more equitable basis, than telling a kid they got the mark to get into Royal, but that Royal did not have room for him! We live in a Country that tries to bamboozle an ignorant electorate into believing a pack of lies, by presenting them all coated in Chocolate, as we only want electoral gain by fooling, and kidding each other. We take a bite of the Chocolate and find it bitter!              

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