Preparing for the most important exam

In Guyana getting a good education is thought of as getting good exam results. And getting good exam results involves going to school twice – to school itself and, more importantly, “extra lessons.”

This double dose of teaching deprives children and young people of an absolutely vital part of their lives – that part which should be spent in games and recreation, in pursuing hobbies and developing creative talents which have nothing to do with any exam syllabus, in simply having fun, enjoying themselves, getting really good at some sport, stretching their imaginations in art or dance or drama or in reading books or investigating subjects that have nothing to do with classroom. In other words they are deprived of making the most of a time in their lives when all-round ability, mental flexibility, character, social skills and special aptitudes are practised and developed to face that much larger and more important exam – the exam of life itself. It is a tragedy of the first order.

Parents mean well but they should know that what is involved in the exercise of “extra lessons,” taken to the lengths that now obtain in Guyana, is child abuse by another name. I find it unbearable to think of the countless aimless hours which our children and young people spend in school classrooms all over the country to be followed by further countless hours spent in crammer’s sweat shops preparing for exams. Our educational authorities should also find it unbearable…..