Complaints, complaints, and more complaints...
Last night I had diner with some friends of mine, all of them with kids or experienced at some level with the education of children.
I've been sadly listening to the many complaints and silently shared the frustration and anger they expressed toward a system that is not supportive enough to the growth, development, education and preparation of our youth to the adult world.
I refer here specifically to the educational system in Ticino, Switzerland, because this is the region of concern we were talking about, where all their children frequent the schools. We have here a schooling system that wants young children classified into groups, those of "superior" class (with Level "A") and the others of "inferior" class (with level "B").
An educational system based on these labels, that the kid receives from the age of 12-13 when accessing the 3. year of secondary school. These labels are given according to the grades you get at the end of the second class in the subjects of Mathematics and German. A grade equal or higher than 4.5 (max is 6) will grant you access to the "A classes" in one or both subjects, viceversa a lower grade will deny its access and label you a "B student".
The problem, is that this levels-system has caused with the time a great barrier for the access in schools and even jobs to most of the B-students. Students with B-levels are often denied the access to high schools and even jobs. These students are cut off from a big part of the future possibilities the adult world is offering, simply because they were not able to have better grades in those two subjects!
We all perfectly know, as we become adults, that each one of us is different. When we are adult, we understand by
observing and talking with friends and colleagues how different yet important we all are for the contribution to our positions, jobs and ultimately the society.
But we fail to recognize this same difference in our children, when they are just 12 or 13 years old. We fail to acknowledge and support their unique skills and qualities, and we classify them according to the grades of 2 subject among all, Maths and the German Language.
I'm not trying to diminish the importance of those two subjects here, even though I wish that each one of us can see the incorrectness of such a system, but I can't miss to remind that each one of us is a unique living being, with its peculiarities.
We all have different degrees of predisposition, development and knowledge, and this is particularly true during the period of growth we are referring to! At 12-13 girls and boys have substantial differences and their development can greatly vary from one individual to the other. But we have failed to recognize this and have created a system where kids are separated into categories that will preclude many future possibilities, based on their capacity to adapt to this system in an age where they physically and mentally can't do it, if not with a great effort which most probably will harm them on the long term.
Furthermore we now oblige children to start schools at the age of 4, since we understood that the earlier we start molding and shaping our young children, the "better" the result will be...
Argh... I didn't mean this to sound like a post of complaints, but I realize it can't be otherwise, since I'm just expressing and reporting the lamenting attitude most parents have adopted as the result of their frustration in the face of a the system.
I don't have a magic wand and definitely don't have exhaustive solutions, but I know for sure that differentiation is key, offering many different solutions for the many different personalities we are.
Certainly it is key to sustain this differentiation, instead of trying uniforming everyone to one single system for the first eight (8!!!) years of education... we should try to create a system based on the identification of our children's qualities and talents and their support.
So much should be done in order to create that ideal world that some are imagining. A world where each one is accepted and valued for the contribution he or she can give to the community, rather than considered according to the levels and/or the certificate he can show...
Very broad subject, and we are only talking about Ticino ;) (...not really...).
Please comment, share, write anything comes in your mind, critics and comparison make us grow!!!
Have a wonderful day. Patrik
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