The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

Consistency in “dumbing down” education

Reading a commentary by Mamphela Ramphele on “Destroying seeds of our future” in last weekend’s Sunday Times, leaves me worried about the future of a nation because of the dumbing down of education. This phenomenon of dumbing down education was reported in the US – that to some commentators started in the 1960s, it has hit most other countries. It leaves me worried not because it started in a far of continent and it reached the shores of Africa, but because of the rates and levels it has hit us. Worried because there does not seem to be any concerted effort to immediately rectify the problem. Worried because, even when the problem is known, there is a person, a legacy or an ideology to blame instead of facing the beast head on. Worried because tomorrow, the “dumbened” generation will soon be making decisions on how to dumb down the education system even further (because the benchmark is shifting, always lower that it was after a very short time).

I am sure no one would like to be treated by a doctor who was taught by a quake (some of the teachers who taught Matriculants in 2008 in South Africa claimed they would have failed the mathematics paper themselves), or a doctor who failed a subject and got 10 free marks to make him pass (like the marks adjustments done by the Exams body in South Africa). Equally, I would hate to be the unfortunate resident of a house whose architect, engineer, and quantity surveyor arbitrarily added some 10 points to the building to make sure that the measures subscribed to are met without considering the consequences of that action.

For once, I fail to understand what is the obsession with the a “pass rate”. What is it anyway if a young person who has been “passed” cannot demonstrate the minimum characteristics set for the pass? What happens when such young persons go out there, based on their pass rates, and end up being more frustrated because life does not always add you 10 free points to succeed?

History be our judge.

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