Knowledge without transformation is not wisdom. – Paulo Coelho
The word “grades” in school can now be equated to the word “terrorists”. Grades are terrorizing both the students and the teachers. Students are pressurized to obtain higher grades and teachers are being gauged by the school authorities based on the grades obtained by their class.
As for the students, too much emphasis on grades creates an aversion toward studies. Since students are “forced” into the system against their will, they do it for the sake of their parents and teachers and not for themselves. This leads to the concept of “rote memory” which has short term benefits but is absolutely useless. A neighbor of mine once asked me to advise her son and give him tips to easily memorize his lessons. When I asked her about the necessity of him understanding the lessons, she just shrugged, saying that it is not a matter of concern for the time being. This kid is only in his ninth grade! This is definitely not one of the best ways to improve the quality of education.
Talking about teachers, there are two kinds of teachers here. The first type is one who cares for nothing but the grades and force their ways on the children. The second type is one who is concerned about the children and the system but is forced to play along due to the fear of risking their job. In any case, the students comply with anguish and even if they come out with top grades, they will be of no value in the outside world.
Looking at the big picture, it is a scenario where each one is forcing the other with something they don’t like for themselves!
The education system is, unfortunately, not aware of the ways of the world. When the kids go out into the world, all that matters is what they know and what they can actually do. Grades mean nothing to the real world. I was thrown out of my school after my tenth grade with the reason that I do not have the capacity to study science (Well… At least that’s what my grades said!). I did take up science in another school, went to college, passed with distinction, and I’m teaching science today!
Hence we should aspire to develop a system to satisfy the long-term goals of the students. Students should gain knowledge which should make them think and explore, rather than transferring it from their books to the test papers. We are now living in an era where information is free, fast and easy to obtain. The key lies in how the teacher facilitates the analysis of this knowledge by the students. Students must be oriented towards becoming knowledge creators, rather than knowledge consumers.
Had every one of us decided to be knowledge consumers, there would have been nothing for us to consume. We read so much about scientists, mathematicians and other great achievers. These achievers worked with the knowledge they had and created more of it. It’s now in the hands of the students to work on these and create much more of it and is the responsibility of the teachers to make this possible.