Time for another rant!
So I am writing a persuasive essay at school in English and I basically chose the subject of why the school system us messed up/ exams should be banned. I have my own reasons for wanting change in the system but as far as I can see it would produce economic benefits too. (If there is anything that is wrong here please pick me up on it!)
While researching the essay I stumbled upon something Obama had said about basing the US's education system off the ones currently in place in South Korea and Hong Kong. It would seem logical, certainly. They produce some of the best students in the world and rank among the top grades-wise.
So why is it a bad idea? Well to start with I have found that suicide and depression rates in South Korea are the highest in the developed world and it would also seem that success and achievement come hand in hand with serious mental health issues including suicide. Pupils may work from 6 in the morning to midnight. School then study then school again. It leaves no space for free time but often pupils see this as the only way to get a job or make and impact on the world. What South Korea produces is a brilliant resource of test-takers and knowledgeable people.
But in the 21st century we are not looking for people who can pass GCSE or Standard Grade maths with flying colours in half the allotted time.
What we need are creative thinkers.
And Finland have just the system that creates these kind of people.
For starters children start school ages 7- a whole year at least after British kids start. School times are also flexible, though generally in their Senior Secondaries. Break times are longer than in the UK and the atmosphere is relaxed. A sharp contrast to South Korea's high pressure days that last often longer than I am awake for.
And what about the classroom itself? They are pupil centred with the teachers doing as little talking as possible. In the US teacher 'talk-time' can be around 80% of the lesson whereas in Finland it is around 40% per lesson. Finnish schools help children to discuss, discover and develop their ideas. So why can't we?
I am yet to understand why my own government is currently putting in a system whereby pupils of 14 are undertaking exams of the kind I did not sit until I was 16. The stress and pressure load is increasing and yet the teachers of my school assure me that it is a better, more effective way of learning when I challenge them on it. I have been told that we are working towards as system based off Finland's but that is not what I see at all. Learning is still a case of dictation and memorisation not discussion and free flowing relaxed learning.
Why does my government insist that by rote learning is the best when we have evidence that it fails to produce happy and creative individuals? Why do my teachers tell me that exams are going to be the spine of my life when my passions are what drive me? And why is no one doing anything about it when it is possibly the biggest problem that our future economy and generations face?
I do not know the answers to these questions, but I plan on doing something about it. I recently got involved with a project that focuses on the young people who will be voting in the upcoming Scottish referendum and so I have a voice. And I plan to use it.