Many times, we unnecessarily read too much into academic grades and what they can do for the candidate’s life. Yet, on their own, they are just grades.
At best, stellar performance in national examinations could be the spark that lights the fire of one’s career and burns into the future. However, the embers will need to be fanned to burst into a proper flame that illuminates the course of the candidate’s life, births innovations, and benefits the economy and the world.
Otherwise left to its own devices, unattended, the spark will eventually die off and lives will remain the same. Similarly, on their own, delivering good grades in national examinations often cannot do much to propel one forward or alter the trajectory of their lives, unless matched with diligence, a great work ethic, and being a good human.
Of course, good grades can give one a head start in the rat race that is life, but they are not everything one needs to get ahead. They have the potential to open doors to further studies and unlock opportunities that would not necessarily be accessed by average performance.
Similarly, failure in exams does not necessarily mean failure in life. Neither does it bestow any unusual characteristics that would cause an average performer to be the one to hire more academically gifted. Cases abound of individuals who struggled in school but went on to do exploits; in the same way, there are those who gave up trying to better their prospects. The difference lies in what one ends up doing with whatever cards life deals with.
Not to downplay the important role that education plays in molding futures. Only that it is not just the final grade that there is in forming character and the person who eventually comes out of the system. The schooling system provides a platform through which talents are unearthed and passions discovered that end up as the mainstay of livelihoods.
Nonetheless, results of national examinations never fail to excite us because we believe strong performance is the only way to get ahead. Those who are disappointed by being left out of the wave of great grades, predictably cause a hullaballoo about their veracity.
From the bucketloads of criticism and sneers, it appears as if examinations are now as hotly contested as presidential polls. No one wants to be on the side that is not winning; and if you cannot beat them, puncture holes in their victory and question its credibility.
It is about the unrealistically high expectations that we have consistently placed on a good performance in school. Remember the old song exhorting learners to work hard in school so they can get a good job in the future? Unfortunately, it is no longer relevant. Times have changed since then and it is no longer only about getting good grades.
Thus, a lot of the questions being raised now about the veracity of grades and accusations of cheating in the examinations that are being traded and what that means for all of us are not essentially from a good place. It does not look like it is for want of credible national examinations that are above board but instead smacks of a selfish motive. Some of the claims are laughable as if it is not humanly possible for the majority of candidates in a school to garner top grades, fairly and squarely. Nowadays, it looks like top performers are automatically guilty of benefiting from examination irregularities until proven innocent. It is troubling and risks casting aspersions about academic qualifications from our country.
We need to move on and embrace the many tracks to a great future that could come out of an education and great grades are just one of them. Over-focusing on one possible outcome is what is getting us all worked up about the results of national examinations.