We have heard enough about our education system. It is a 100-year-old system. The system has not evolved with the current technology and it is teaching us how to be able to take orders and do tasks that are repetitive.

10 years back when I was just 14 years old, I remembered showing my grade to my parents and they were disappointed with it. As the usual Asian Indian parents, they ask me to study harder and score the first in my class (since I was in the second class). I being the boy who hates studying, I decided to put the effort just to make them happy. Successfully I was able to achieve it and with joy, I showed it to them. They were happy and with more expectation they ask me to maintain it and if possible, to work even harder to come in the top 10 of my overall school.

Throughout my secondary school days, that was precisely what I was doing. Keeping up to their hope and expectation, getting a good result, and being proud of the achievement that I have earned. But deep down, I just knew I wasn’t learning, I was memorizing. I just study for the grades and not for the knowledge. It was like I have been programmed just to achieve a good result and focus my time just on studying only. Most of my school days were scheduled in a way where I would spend about 10–12 hours just for studying in school, library, and tuition. You could ask me, if I knew it was wrong why didn’t I stop it. Fear. I was afraid that the same society that congratulated me will start criticizing me. To be frank, I wasn’t the only one, nearly every “smart” student had gone through the same situation during their school days and this so call culture is still being followed until today.

TL;DR

  1. We are not studying for the sake of gaining knowledge, we study for the sake of getting good grades.
  2. Students are just memorizing textbook definition without understanding what it means.
  3. Our education system kills curiosity in its student.
  4. Studying become a burden that students don’t enjoy it anymore.
  5. The rank system has become the new caste system.
  6. Parents should stop comparing their child with another excelling child.
  7. We should stop asking ‘Will this come out in the exam’ and start asking ‘Why do I need to know this’.

How many of us truly understand what we study?

Think about it, do you study based on curiosity or “This is going to come out in the exam”. We have stopped learning for knowledge and we just study for what is going to come out in the exam. I mean if you denied this statement then why are there so many demands for “soalan bocor”, if you study for knowledge then you should be able to answer any type of question right? We learn ways on how to answer in the exam not on how to learn effectively. I remember as a student, my friends and I asked more questions on “Will this come out in the exam” than “What can we do with the knowledge that we just get”. It is like all of us are stuck in this rat race and everyone is running towards the first prize.

Education is not a marathon; it is more like a jungle trekking. It should be thrilling for us to adventure into the forest of knowledge. When a student is curious about a topic, they learn better, they understand and they can come up with the better ideology that can help the human race. But at the end of the day, it is not the children that we can blame. If the purpose of learning is to score well on a test, we have lost sight of the real reason for learning.

art by Alexander Russo

Parents should support their child than trying to make them the highlight in front of their friends.

You might ask what parents have to do with the education system, but we fail to understand that parent's involvement in their child’s education is the most pivotal aspect of the education system. There are parents who build a competitive environment, which revolves around comparing their children with others. For some reason, I live in a time where parents love comparing their children with their friends or cousins. For those parents who love to compare I would like to ask them one thing, how would you feel when your children compare you with their friend’s parents? Just like how Albert Einstein once say “Everyone is genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

Children below 18 are really fragile, often time they just react based on what they have seen or felt before. Not everyone is good in studies, some can be good in sports, some in music and some in entertaining. Parents should understand what their children are good at and encourage them in those fields. Parents often think that education is the only way that can lead to a better life but they fail to see that there are other ways that can lead their children to have a better life. In the current world, there are more opportunities, and parents have to give their children some space for them to expand their creativity. I have faced situations where my parents will cut down my entertainment so that I will focus on my studies and my advice is don’t do that.

What makes a child mature is by adding responsibility to them, not forcing them by restricting them only to do one thing. At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.

Our rank system has become the new caste system

Caste system is basically a system of dividing society by social status like for example how our education system divides us by grade, those who achieve A’s in all subjects are rank in first class while those who fail in all subjects are rank in last class. You can tell that ranking in such ways helps the student to learn from each other and teachers are able to teach more and faster for the first class students.

But the truth is that the last class students are left out. Teachers don’t teach them the same as how teachers teach in the first class. They are always labeled as vandalism students, lack of discipline, and potential students to go into criminal records. Every child is different and when we rank them like this, it feels like we already decide what their future will look like. Subconsciously, we build up a fixed perceptive about them and we start treating them differently according to ranks.

We often fight for equality in race and we forget about the equality in our education system. Students will be inspired by doing great stuff if we are able to show and guide them on the way to achieve it.

Understanding the problem is the only way we can find the solution.

Yes, it’s true, it is easy to complain but only from complain we can identify and understand the problem that we are facing. From that understanding, we can start finding ways to encounter and solve it. I am not telling that we should change our education system overnight but we can take small steps into building a positive culture among the students, parents, and teachers that later on can give a seamless transition into a better education system.

Steps like positive involvement in their children’s education, giving them the space to fail, and to give them the feeling there is life even if you fail, can give a huge impact towards their child. I came from a strict family background and failure was a taboo word for me. To be honest, there were times where I find ways to cheat so that I can “pass” my test and I know I am not the only one.

Teachers also play a very important role, one main habit/behavior that I believe all teachers should have is don’t judge a student. We often utter the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but how many of us implement it in our life. Teachers often scold students who are naughty, but it only adds up more anger for the students to be disobedient. Most of the time students tend to be naughty because they have a problem and teachers should step in to guide them towards a solution. “Don’t be a boss, be the leader”.

Children in this generation are actually much smarter and informed because of the improvement in our technology and if we are still using the current education system to teach, our children might be left behind. Having a well-adapted and up to date education system can help improve our coming generation children which will lead to more innovative thinking that can result in an advanced improvement for our country. Our education system will not change overnight but small steps that we can take towards improving it from parents, teachers, students, and society can speed up the process. Success is not a big step in the future, success is a small step taken right now.