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A system that fails students

- Santosh Acharya

Sep 13, 2017-He was low on energy and inner strength. He had no desire to learn or to understand. He was struggling with constant fear of failure—not a single second fleeted by without haunting him with the consequences of failing. He was running out of optimism. Pessimism was slowly taking over his mind and body. He breathed in and breathed out only melancholy.

What would he do? He had not made it to the list of MBBS-eligible candidates last year. He had failed. Even when he had always been the best in his class, he had failed. He didn’t get through the entrance test.

It was never his dream to wear a white apron and carry a stethoscope around his neck. It was his parents’. Music was his love; he wanted to establish himself as a musician. But, he could never pursue it. Music would not justify his SEE or high school scores. Music would never justify all the time and effort that his parents put into raising him.

His passion never did, never will matter. He will have to do what the world wants him to do. He will have to live by the world’s rulebook. He has been educated to become a doctor or an engineer, how dare he think about anything else, right?

Such is this world. Children are raised with certain expectations, regardless of who they are and what they want to do. And if these children fail to perform accordingly, they will be tagged as failures if and when they grow up.

How fair is it?

Albert Einstein had once said: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”. The same happens to so many youngsters every day. So many students are judged not on the basis of what they are good at but on the basis of how they perform against a set of traditional examination systems. So many students are tested against subjects that they have no interest whatsoever in.

There are eight kinds of intelligence: Musical-rhytmic and harmonic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential. Yet, students are purely and entirely judged upon how much they score in school tests that require rote-learning. If only the society already addressed the fact that every student is differently intelligent and should be judged on the basis of their special area of intelligence.

Our traditional educational system and the social beliefs are fooling many young minds. Many energetic minds have fallen victim to this educational malpractice. In course of achieving the superiority of the traditional educational practice, they end up defeating themselves. They are forced to climb a tree when they are water animals and in the process they die due to dried hope.

A child in a school completes his school level education somehow, getting through at least nine subjects a year. During the time, he is forced learn about things that he doesn’t care for and know them by heart. Everybody should learn the basics of everything he needs in life; but he is forced to learn above the basic level too. After he completes the school level education, he is forced to pursue a subject that is deemed superior.

No student is ever given the confidence to pursue what he is interested in. Everybody is only encouraged to either pursue math or science, or a combination of both.

There is an urgent need of change in the educational system. It needs to be upgraded and revised. All people should be taught to respect every field. Every student should be taught that at the end of the day, just the technical subjects are not all that’s important. We should give more space for intellectuality and creativity.

My appeal to the SEE graduates is: Don’t pursue a stream because all your friends are or because your parents want you to. Pursue a stream of subject because you can’t imagine not pursuing it, because you are genuinely interested in it.

Acharya is a student at IoE, Pulchowk

Published: 13-09-2017 11:03

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