Decay of the Educational System


Decay

©Leanne Lim-Walker

The wave of changing face of education swamped us, globally, around the oncoming of the new millennium.

Prior to that, education still had value. Education was taught for the sake of educating minds. Opening the minds to knowledge and critical thinking.

But, around the 2000s, education became just another money-churning business. An endlessly profitable business as long as the toddler stage was passed by a child.

My first experience, and every experience ever since, of teaching has been of shock and disappointment with regards to the syllabus taught to students, regardless, of the board the school followed. However, primarily, my concern lies with the British, IGCSE and American curriculum.

My shock was due to the lightweight course followed for an entire academic year. I tried to justify it by making myself believe that the syllabus was diluted to focus on each topic in-depth.

But, is that really the case?

I fear, it is not.

You would argue that I am wrong as I am not taking into account the differentiation plans and the daily lesson plans that should make learning more effective and, most importantly, more specific.

Well, in my honest opinion, differentiation in lessons conducted by teachers existed since the beginning of teaching history. To deny it would be a gross injustice to all the magnificent teachers of the past, who have had pronounced constructive impact on countless minds.

Having said that, I do not discredit the hard work and sincerity of the currently employed teachers. If at all, they are being skinned alive by the impetus of pressure on them caused by the amount of work loaded on their backs.

It is the extreme pressure that has snubbed the motivation of many teachers. I have witnessed an entire school filled with teachers whose face muscles were constantly taut with stress and tension. How successful would lessons conducted by stressed teachers be? The teaching and learning environment, specifically at schools, should not be a forced-taught environment, where the teacher robotically follows instructions. When a student does not find their teacher enthusiastic or motivated about their subject, how would they be thrilled about it?

The scales of pressure that earlier weighed down on the students, in the equilibrium of the teaching-learning equation, now weigh down on teachers, though with no increase in actual teaching. This doesn’t mean that I am purporting the idea that we should pressurize the students, far from that. I am merely trying to illuminate the reasons behind this sudden change.

As schools became business-oriented, like any other business organization, the customers or the parents and their child(ren) became of great importance. They were the sources of profit and raw capital for the organization.

The profits made by owners of the schools were not hidden. They soon became obvious when owners began creating groups/chains of schools. Schools soon turned into brands. A school was no longer just about educating a child, but, now, also represented the societal status and class of the child and of his/her family.

The authorities concerned with education within a country, without a doubt, observed the trend. Huge schools that provide state-of-the-art facilities to the students certainly reflect well on the economy of a country. Accordingly, a standard of acceptability was introduced to maintain the good reflection of educational ‘modernization’ of the country.

Consequently, the schools now had to maintain a level of acceptability that would be determined by an annual inspection conducted during a prior announced period of a few working days. As a result, the entire focus of education has been turned into creating a flawless presentation to the inspection team. Teachers have been ordered to provide evidence of their teaching. Not in the form of how bright their students are, but in the form of scribbling, typing, and printing of papers. Documentation became the keyword.

Documents of every minute matter have been generated to create an illusion of education. Names were created for methods of teaching that have always existed, to augment the quantities of documents. Teachers’ liberty and imagination have been reined in as they slave their hours at work. The walls of schools have been adorned and beautified, professing the excellence of students’ aptitude. A beautifully ornamented façade.

The watered down syllabus was a means of easing the scoring of marks for students. Good results reflect good teaching and, ultimately, a good school. Unfortunately, the future of children is at stake in this rat race, as they are denied of the education they deserve and have paid for.

Education is like food. If you consume large portions of food, your stomach’s elasticity is stretched. If the same portions of food were offered to an individual, who was used to eating much smaller portions of meal, they would end up throwing it up or with an episode of indigestion. Similarly, the less knowledge we expose the students to, the smaller their learning, thinking, analytical, et al, capacity becomes. They find the lessened quantity equally challenging and not easier. In other words, their learning capacity is being diminished.

We are facing an educational system that has become infested with the virus of greed for money, name and fame, decaying it from its roots. The remnants of education remain behind the façade of education politics, but, will we rekindle this dying flame?

– SKY –

24th February 2016

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