November 25, 2004

Its a rat race

Ya ok this is not the first time ive heard of life being a rat race but I'm seeing it affect kids and thats when it beomes scary. Two things brought this feeling about.
First one; Some of my class mates gave this presentation about the education system here and you know what, kids at primary 3,4 are required to take exams that put them into different streams - whats this based on maths english and mother toungue. And here itself the differentiation begins ... based on these streaming execersises they go into different streams in Secondary school (Olevels) - and if you are stuck in a "lower ability stream" then you get to sit for the normal olevels with which you can only go to polytechnics or vocational institutes!! Only those in the express/special streams go on to Alevels and university. Hmm interesting so your life is decided in class 4!!!. Seriously how many of us can say we knew what were going to do in university at that age...or even did our academics then reflect what we are today? What option does a kid in this system have, just study study study! We see a lot of kids doing the next years work one year ahead in the holidays just to keep up - when did we ever care about that.
Second incident; The lab where im doing my project suddenly had some younger people... so I decided to satisfy my curiosity - turns out they are 1st year ALevel people who have come to do projects in their decmber holidays. I go WHAT! Ok granted its an interesting thing to do and they are lucky to have the oportunity. But think about some of the knowledge required for even the simplest understanding is difficult to get even at fourth year uni level and I am trying to explain the concepts of the project that has "big words" to a student who hasn't got polarization yet - so looks like he has to spend his holidays learning things that are taught at university level at the least. (Ya I was given the task of explaining some stuff to one of them who was to be doing something similar to me.) Asked him how exactly he came to be doing this and he says he wanted to (im thinking is he normal!- ok he'll go far:))


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