We no longer pay for an education to be educated.
This isn’t an original thought. I read in a book that talked about during Aristotle times, schools took in students who wanted to learn and be taught. There was no grading system, it wasn’t about trying to get the most marks out of it in order to graduate, it was simply pass or fail. You either get it or you don’t. You either understood or you don’t. The goal wasn’t to determine who was better, it was simply to educate each student as individual thinkers.
Then came the grading system. It started becoming a chase for as many marks as possible, whether or not you are truly educated became secondary without anyone even realizing. Your teachers, your tutors, your guidebooks, the tips and tricks you get are all strategized and based on one simple principle: get as many marks as you can.
When you left an exam question blank because you couldn’t understand, you’d get chided for not just writing something, anything! Why? Because you could have gotten marks for at least writing something, and marks are the whole point. But isit? EVEN IF you did write something, which may lead to getting the points, which would lead to passing the exam, which would lead to a certificate of successfully graduating, implying that this student understands, this student is EDUCATED. But, they’re not? All they did was follow the best strategy to get more marks.
If you were running out of time during an exam, and only had time to do a 5 mark difficult question or a 10 mark easy question (obviously that’s usually not the case but this is just an example), you’d choose the 10 mark question because the more marks THE BETTER, despite the fact that enrolling into a school is supposed to be about getting educated and to get challenged intellectually, but you chose the easy one because you’ll get more marks. Even if were vice versa (5 mark easy, 10 mark difficult), and you really want 10 points, but the question is difficult, there is a chance you may end up with 0 marks, way too risky, so you choose the 5 marks question because you were taught to strategize in a way where you get the maximum amount of marks possible, its never about reaching a new level of understanding, but simply to graduate even if it meant not getting educated.
People only start appreciating the value of education once they have matured, and wishing they could go back and gain more knowledge. But truth is, educational institutions aren’t about properly educating students anymore, its all about getting the highest grade possible. You hear students complain all the time, school would be so much better if there wasn’t exams. Its less stressful and students can learn at their own pace, but it also places more emphasis on being properly educated, rather than the student chasing for time and selectively studying some chapters that they think will come out in the exams. Its not about learning anymore.
We start school when we are of a pretty young age, when our bodies and minds are barely developed, when we cannot yet see the wisdom of education, but only feel pressure from trying to submit our homework, pass our next exam, hopefully make it into the next year.
The value of high grades has become a seriously muddled idea. The truly known value of getting good grades is so that you can move on to the next year and ultimately get a job to pay the bills (although the purpose of good grades in landing a job is slowly losing its potency too). Maybe we should stop calling it an
education system but rather just let the entire institution be absorbed by the ministry of labor as part of the path to employment system.
Phew, that’s a load off my chest!