A Continuation of Exam Culture

Basically everywhere you go you see signs for lessons  for students. Forms 4 to 6 – understood, because of the impending threat of CXC’s CSEC examinations followed directly by CAPE I and CAPE II. Eh! could be ignored except for do you really need lessons on Communications studies, when it’s pretty much straightforward? At least, it’s not at the level of Communications Studies at tertiary, where you might as well start your undergrad thesis at first year, or so it seemed to me, looking on at my friends who did do Comms studies at the University of the West Indies. I didn’t,so, hehe.

But more to the point – lessons for form 3 -NCSE examinations are new, and right around the corner. Lessons for form 2, okay NCSE. Lessons for form 1 – um… can’t you take a break you just came out of Lessons for Std. 4/5 for SEA.

But, what is this?! Lessons for Std 1! What, did they fail sleeping? Did they not understand the rhyme by rote? – A is for Apple, B is for Bat, C is for Cat and so on and so on.

I’m in awe.

I mean there are buildings – BUILDINGS – designated for lessons, which means, in the Trinidad parent’s mind pertaining to Their Child’s Guaranteed Success Story, that, yes, lessons equals success, because success is passing all your exams, but with no actual proof that you learned anything. I got a distinction (A grade I and all A’s in the profile)  in Maths, but so many things I’ve been faced with Mathematically since then, and I’m lost.

This Caribbean need to excel in Academia is far flung in our history. So many people saw the need to excel in school so they could go away and get what they perceive to be the Better Educational Route. And in Trinidad, to get level of “foreign educational success” it’s all grades on paper. Unfortunately, what is there is often not equivalent to what they actually learned.

The assessment process is also to blame. From what I remember of the past papers, like for Spanish and French, many things are repeated. Not one question repeated after 5 or 10 years. Rather a question from last year, or two years ago would appear. Many learned the language by Rote!  The same applies to the sciences, and the history. Can’t speak for any other one, but, I do know that much for what I did study.

So The question remains, why do we have a thriving lessons culture, if we aren’t learning? And when people are actually exposed to learning, how will they cope?

Idealistically, we can rid the country of this culture and actually teach and give the children a proper chance in academia.

Realistically, yeah, as someone who went through it and sees people go through it, it’s hard to come to any conclusion than to exploit it.

Optimistically, by embracing it, and using it and fighting the system like a well-meaning virus, we can eradicate it.

Pessimistically, the evil-antibodies will destroy all attempts, and assimilate us, like Cybermen, rather than the Roman Empire.

My question is, how do we do this without becoming like the rest of them?

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