So over the course of the afternoon, I got pretty riled up by what some people would call a little petty thing. I guess I got really irritated and angry because I felt reality stung. I write this as a 19 year old, by this age most adults say we should know the world, we should know our reality, that the world out there is not nice, it swears by certificates and stuff, etc. But I think I’m still a child inside, in the sense that my hopeful idealism seems to play itself up again and again especially with this topic on education. This isn’t the first time I wrote on it and probably won’t be the last but here you can call this a rant.
So my organization has this really well, you can call it commendable, act of rewarding those who did well in examinations by placing posters of them in a public spot, with their portrait and a short write-up of them attached to it. This is a good thing, of course, it is a nice reward. Here’s what I have against it. I was one of the blessed individuals to have done well for the examinations and so I was on one of those posters. However, when we were collecting our results, we were asked to fill up a sort of form with questions like “how did you achieve your goals?” and “what were some of the struggles you faced”. Advice was also requested from us to the juniors, or people who would come across our poster (I supposed), as questions such as “what advice would you give your juniors” and such like. So we answered these written questions as we were told that these would be used to craft a write-up on us. THEN when the posters actually came out, I was shocked to see that the write-ups contained near nothing about what we wrote on those papers, instead, it was copied directly from testimonials that we wrote OURSELVES (just saying). I was not just shocked but sad, that whatever went up on those posters – they weren’t about us. They were about events, things we did, things we were a part of. But they had just about nothing to do with who we were as people, with only a short meagre paragraph stating that oh – so and so displays resilience and can face challenges – etc. That’s about it. What saddened me was that whatever we wrote wasn’t reflected – it was not so much that the effort in writing those things were wasted, it was the fact that those posters, seen by our juniors, would make them think – oh wow senior XX and YY were respected by our organization because we handled many activities, we represented our school in this and that, but it says nothing of us as individuals besides being good jugglers, or ‘multi-taskers’.
It is sad that our journey through A level wasn’t taken into consideration. I believe many of us grew through the process. I speak for myself. Being immersed immensely into the dome of humanities – chiefly English Literature – besides developing a oxymoronic love hate relationship with the subject, I learnt to see my world from not just newer and fresher but multiple angles. This, coupled along with history, allowed me new frontiers of thought and expression. I think that these things ought to be captured more than what skills I had and what events I took part in.
I guess at the end of the day it just shows me what kind of society I live in. This idealistic soul in me wants to see
flowers and butterflies, I mean I want to see people appreciating their world and their education, being and becoming better people. Isn’t that the whole point of holistic education, where we develop as better individuals? Sure I mean these events teach us things but when we put a poster like that up of a whole paragraph of what event XX and YY went for as compared to a shorter, much more terse paragraph about what they are, does this mean we are an event oriented society and forget what these events actually mean. Do I as a senior, want my juniors to go for many events without reflecting on what each one taught them? ‘Course not. But this is the message we are sending. We all chase after grades and certificates and that’s sad.
I really wish it wasn’t this way.