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Friday 13 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Education, more than exam results

THE EDITOR: Once again the SEA results have descended on us. As usual, girls seem to have gained the upper hand. Also, the recurrent call for the examination to be abolished, because it exposes students to too much stress, has returned.

However, before going further, permit me to congratulate all successful 2019 SEA students – especially Daniella Taylor of Bethesda Government Primary School, who philosophically reminded us that what matters in overcoming obstacles is navigating the journey and not our anxiety over arriving at the destination.

Daniella certainly impressed me with her declaration. It is a point I have been using for years to argue that education is not only about successful certification. As I see life, education should also be about developing imagination, character, compassion, empathy, and resilience. True educators summarise these factors in what they call domains – cognitive, psychomotor, affective, and the psychosocial.

From research findings published by reputable scholars and organisations, I have come to accept that student performance tends to be influenced by the home environment of students; clear goals for student performance, set by both teachers and parents; the value of learning and meaningful living, communicated to students by the home and school; and the expectations of parents and the school with respect to how students can ultimately express their humanity in terms of their emotional intelligence.

Some researchers believe that students are more adequately served when their parents cooperate with the school by participating in parent-teacher initiatives. Others insist that a well-structured home environment contributes to our children’s development and human capital. This has been found to be easily accomplished through a cohesive social network of friends and contacts, which helps to socialise children to develop a mindset, which helps to focus on relatively high levels of performance, resilience, acceptable social behaviour, patterns of speech, and cultural references that are admired and valued by all in the society.

By way of conclusion, I emphasise that we have to be careful with how we go about tampering with the SEA examination. To water its brandy in the belief that we are alleviating stress may develop for us a nation of weaklings in direct contrast with the dictum, “Diamonds are made under pressure.” Our nation needs strong, resilient, creative, critical thinkers who can contribute to social cohesion and national development. Tell me! Why are our cricketers and footballers experiencing such unfortunate outcomes on the world stage?

RAYMOND S HACKETT, Curepe

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