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Campus Vibe
OPINION: Failing in exams does not necessarily mean lack of intelligence
By Charles Bazenga | Updated Nov 26, 2017 at 09:59 EAT
Education CS, Fred Matiang'i
  • Gauging students by their performance does harm to some whose results in exams depends entirely on other factors out of class.
  • The system that we use to measure intelligence with is mono faced whereas there are so many ways in which a student can be intelligent without necessarily passing exams.
  • Parents and teachers should look beyond marks when deciding if a student is bright or not.

Academic excellence is something every parent, guardian, teacher, and student would be proud of. Demonizing pupils and students who perform poorly in exams is wrong.

In fact, exams are not the best tools to measure someone's brightness. For instance, Richard Branson- Founder of Virgin- never finished high school dropped out at 16 years of age.

He was also dyslexic and had poor academic performance. That didn't stop him from becoming one of the most successful human beings in this globe.

We all have different capabilities and capacities as far as comprehending theories and principles is concerned. In school pupils and students will perform differently... some will score highly, some averagely and others dismally.

Three things are probable and these range of performances can be attributed to them; 

1. Some pupils and students read to pass exams and not to understand the underlying issues. For instance, very few of those who studied physics can explain a principle such as Bernoulli's easily.

But if you check their test papers, they never missed the three marks whenever the principle was questioned. Academic success overrides academic value. As a result, we end up with so many As and too few solutions to problems that society faces. 

2. The education system has become monotonous and boring, a routine that lacks the oomph. For a dynamic, creative, 'short-cut oriented' generation like the current, the existing curriculum is an error in itself and can hardly achieve 30% of whatever it aims. It doesn't inspire or encourage them.

They are in it since they have no option. With such a colonial time system, pupils/students attend schools because they have to but not for any reason that they themselves can state. We need to synchronize the education system with the current times and generation and technology to make it attractive and exciting to them.

Steve Jobs story is an example of how some education systems are boring; Having found the required classes on his schedule too boring to bear, Jobs dropped out of Reed College just six months into his freshman year so he could drop in on the classes that he was actually interested in -- like Shakespeare, dance, and calligraphy. Steve Jobs is the founder of Apple Company. 

The system does not focus on gifts and talents. If it's designed in a way that enables educationists to discover and develop talents/gifts, it'd help reduce the level of unemployment in the country.

3. The parents and teachers are not doing enough to enlighten the kids on the value and importance of education. They have focused too much on academic success and given academic value a blackout. It's the wrong impression to our kids that they will be poor if they don't read and pass exams.

It's the high time we present to them the social, economic and political challenges that we face as a society and express our hope in them- that the society expects them to come up with solutions to alleviate these challenges through the skills and know-how obtained through education. This way we will be solving the challenges and not creating more challenges.

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