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Failing Is Not A Sport

When I was growing up, which was some couple of years ago; children were ‘smarter’ than their parents. Ok maybe not smart, just clever.

Not to suggest in any way that the adults were not smart, they were. But the parents back then were mostly armed with knowledge, mostly outdated knowledge which was good for survival not necessarily for the school syllabus. I am confusing myself but I know most people will get what I am trying to say here.

In those days, a good number of our primary school classmates were much older than the rest of us, either because their parents had delayed or resisted sending them to school, made them herd goats, the Modisaotsile’s of this country. Or some were older because they kept repeating grades.

Nowadays though, that status quo has completely changed. Parents are now way too smarter than their kids, even by ten folds! Today’s kids are so dull they struggle to recall what their totems are; sometimes they even forget their middle names. It is my theory and I am standing by it.

It is a fact of life that we are all inevitably going to do worse on something than we thought at one point or another in our lives. How to deal with this is important, and knowing what to expect helps.

In school, a bad grade in final exams means a lot of things to different people. For some learners, it means repeating the grade, for some, forcing your way to the next grade, hoping for a miracle along the way.

Results are out again. Every year I write about this, it is great fodder for any writer but it is becoming boring now, yet it deserves a mention.

In short, Gaborone dam fared better than most learners this year. It will take something in the magnitude of ‘Dineo’ to fix this horrible embarrassing mess that is our results.

Let’s face it, today’s generation seems clueless and their IQ levels are even very suspect.

How else do you explain their academic performances? Unlike other past generations (Yours Truly included), they have everything at their disposal; stuff designed to make learning easy; the internet, eBooks, lots of electronic devices, networking - everything you can imagine meant to make learning effortless, so easy for them. Yet, people who studied using candles, bon fires and paraffin lamps without textbooks excelled way better than they do! Perhaps their priorities are just mixed up.

As we do every year

this time, we as adults stomp around in complete disbelief or frustration at the lack of urgency our students show and we try to impart our own adult view of the world on them. Meanwhile they are busy getting on with their lives, in their own separate young person’s universe.

What to do? No one seems to have the definite answer, but I happen to hold the same view I held last year. Which is that, frankly, we are messing up with this automatic progression or whatever fancy name they give this new flawed system. Back in the day, learners who performed badly were simply made to repeat grades.

The system was clear and only God knows why it was dealt away with. Failing at primary school meant that you were never going to enjoy ‘big school’ privileges which included among others, attending school with long pants (if you are a boy), eating a thick slice of bread smothered with jam and peanut butter, you even ate meat and rice at school! Now who didn’t want that? Back then, primary schools only served sorghum porridge and beans, which we often ‘improved’ with a little Knoroxx, for flavour. Going to big school also meant earning respect at the playground and carrying heavy textbooks to school. Today’s children may take that for granted but for us, it was a very big growing up deal!

Now this automatic progression means that everyone proceeds to secondary school nowadays, even students who still can’t figure out whether they are right or left-handed.

Once they get to senior school, such learners continue with bad grades, fail at the end. Teachers are not like Jesus; they cannot turn water into wine.

Once these seasoned failures leave school with their high school certificates, only confirming that they have tasted sliced bread at school, lo and behold, when you thought it was truly over for them, you then hear that they have been admitted into ‘town universities’. Einstein must be turning in his grave! Three or so years down the line, they ‘graduate’ from these ‘universities’.

Then we are told they are roaming the streets with certificates and no employment.

But we forget that when they apply for jobs, their past poor academic performances also reflect on their CV’s. Vicious circle of madness. Phew!

Tumy on Monday



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