How future generations are dumbed down - GulfToday

How future generations are dumbed down

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

British Students

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The British education system seems to just get better and better! Back when I was a school pupil I had exams at the end of every year. The exams at 14, or thereabouts, were crucial for schoolteachers in order for them to know what level we were at and to determine if we should continue studying for the JMB (Joint Matriculation Board), the CSE (Secondary School Exam) or the GCE ‘O’ level. Then following two years of study we sat the JMB, CSE or ‘O’ level exams during the early part of the summer. Passing these exams determined whether or not we were able to proceed to studying for our ‘‘A’ levels, if we wanted to.

Getting a Grade 1 in the JMB or CSE meant, yes we qualified for the GCE ‘‘A’ level course. That’s because a Grade 1 was classed as being equivalent to at least a Grade C in the O level. Anything below a C at ‘O’ level was a fail. I was once told by the principal of a Further Education College that a Grade D in an ‘O’ level was akin to a near miss. But in my view, a miss is as good as a mile. But I digress.

Getting back to the radical changes in the British school education system, I must admit that it was very tough for us kids back then. Passing the ‘O’ level was a huge hurdle and many kids did not pass at the first attempt and a great many more from underprivileged school authorities didn’t pass at all. The education system of the schools in those areas was that bad. Disparity in the teaching methods was enormous which is rather bizarre since surely there was only one curriculum for a particular subject at a particular level.

But in the late 90s the system underwent a drastic change. Some smart-aleck in the education sector suddenly decided to change the ‘O’ level exams to the GCSE, an amalgamation of the CSE and GCE but with one major change. Whereas the CSEs and GCEs comprised solely an exam at the end of the year, the GCSEs were changed to incorporate coursework into the final mark. As a result, although the number of children passing the GCSE, and thus entering university, rapidly increased, the number of graduates who lacked basic knowledge in maths and English also increased quite a lot. I put it down to that change in the pre-university exams. What happened was that kids’ courseworks were often completed by someone other than the kid. And more than 10 years since its introduction, the same smart-aleck is now suggesting that exams for children at sixteen be scrapped altogether. No more GCSE exams at all.

A big question that this move would pose is, can you really determine a child’s character, integrity and ability to cope with life just from the coursework? The resounding answer has to be a no. As we have already guessed from the GCSE system, many children who have graduated from university since its introduction, are far less capable than those who undertook the ‘O’ levels in previous years. Their grammar is up the creek, their spelling is atrocious and don’t get me started on their maths.

Proponents of the new suggestion argue that this is a great move since children are under so much pressure during the summer months. They have to sit in large halls during the heat of the summer taking exams, all of which add up to around 30 hours per pupil per year. That argument makes no sense at all. Children have been doing just that for decades and it did them no harm. In fact, it taught them how to cope with life’s ups and downs far better than the kids are able to today. Life is not going to get easier. Pressures are all around us. Children need to learn to cope with tight deadlines and stresses throughout their lives because they will experience stress at university, at job interviews, with tight deadlines at work and in life in general. Mollycoddling them is actually doing them a disservice.

It is very odd to me, and very sad, that the once world-renowned and envied education system is being demolished in this manner. It’s almost as if they are trying to dumb down future generations so that they know little and, therefore, can question nothing. I don’t know what is going on here but it needs to stop.

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