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So recently I was talking about education policy with a number of parents.
As I’ve said numerous times, while I am a massive advocate of learning, I have a lot of issues with the way certain bodies approach it – from treating it as a profit centre to creating an environment of qualification inflation.
That said, one thing I particularly loathe is how more and more schools are segregating their students into groups from a very early age.
While putting people in the right learning set is obviously important to aid their development, my issue is that it seems to be less about the students ‘pace’ of learning and more about where the school thinks that individuals ‘place’ in the society will be.
Asia is particularly bad at this.
Singapore actively filters students from a young age.
Through a series of exams and tests, they determine who they believe will be the most successful in life and split them off from the others.
In essence, it’s a two-tier – highly competitive – learning system, where those deemed with the most potential are treated – and taught – differently from those regarded as ‘average’.
As I said, I have no issue with people being placed into groups that have been designed to aid their abilities, but I certainly don’t agree with the subliminal – and not so subliminal – attitude and belief that this reflects the level of success a student can – or will – achieve in their life.
I’ve written previously how my [bad] careers officer almost destroyed all my passion, hopes and beliefs because he decided my expected school grades meant I had no hope of ever getting somewhere in life even though my general school grades were good … but I can’t help but feel it’s getting even worse these days.
I was incredibly fortunate that I had amazing parents who instilled in me the belief that if I wanted something enough – and was willing to work very hard for it – I could achieve it, but we now live in a World where people aren’t just judging a book by its cover, but pre-filtering the books so that anyone who ‘doesn’t fit in’, gets placed on a shelf where their chances of success are as impacted as if they had been in prison.
What’s worse is we are accepting it.
We are accepting a system that prejudices from the earliest age.
We are spending ever-more outrageous amounts on schools under the guise of wanting our children to get the best opportunity for life and while I totally understand and appreciate that, the reality is it’s not about having the ‘best opportunity’, it’s actually about having ‘a chance’ to have a semi-decent life which is why for me, the attitude being perpetuated by schools that ‘pace’ equates to ‘place’ is the most terrible things that has happened in society.
Not just for the children – or adults – it affects in schools or jobs, but for all of us, because we are limiting the potential of what the World can be from the very start.
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