“Education” today…

Yes, by writing this article I do believe that I might make some people change their opinion about our educational system. Call me disillusioned but at least I’m trying. So what’s so wrong, you’re thinking. Instead of directly answering this ambiguous question let’s take some time to ponder about what are the first objectives of getting an education. What we expect from the young men and young women leaving school is that they feel fulfilled, that they have a precise idea of what studies they want to pursue. We want them to be cultivated, open-minded, to have a critical mind, to have vision. But is that what our so-called education gives us? I’m afraid not.
Instead of helping individuals to find their own way, our educational system deceivingly leads us to a suffocating conformism. Not convinced yet? A very simple example: when you ask an 18-year-old what he or she wants to do, most of the time you hear the same little song: lawyer, doctor, accountant, engineer and so on… They all want to do the same jobs… Oh wait, is it what they really want or is it our system that leads us to think that this is actually what we want? My point is, today, stereotypes are created instead of individuals as such. Furthermore, education in Mauritius does not promote creativity or culture, but encourages only academics. Indeed, only few students acquire additional skills and maybe this is because they don’t have the time for them.
Imagine: when you take tuitions everyday after school, how do you expect students to actually engage themselves in any further activity? After such a day, I can tell you that they are literally exhausted. Unfortunately they are missing something really important: learning to play an instrument, practice a sport or taking dance courses are activities that they very probably won’t have time to enrol in later; so if now they don’t find time for such activities then it means that they won’t ever have the chance to learn any additional skills which is, I think a pity! Maybe today, our teenagers don’t understand why it would be important.
As I’ve previously mentioned, here, education does not promote culture. Why? Because the sad truth is that the only reason most students learn is for passing their exams. Oh exams…. My British Council teacher used to say: “Exams are the most stupid thing ever. It makes students learn everything by heart and the very next day, they forget everything! What’s the purpose?” Now, let’s stop blinding ourselves from the so-obvious truth. Exams create competition between students, we all agree on that point right? A little competition here and there is in no way disturbing but it becomes dangerous when competition becomes something with which we have to deal everyday and too much competition can also be deadly to our society as it makes those who are subject to it become narrow-minded and it kills any possible form of sharing. Believe me, I would have loved to be exaggerating but unfortunately this is the plain simple truth. What is even more infuriating is that it starts in primary school with the infamous CPE exams. A real crime. It snatches their childhood and their innocence away from tender boys and girls by putting them in an inferno of stress and tuitions. Thank God I’ve escaped this vicious circle.
Needless to say that we’ve lost some vital values today: what about learning for the joy of learning? Never heard of it? Well it truly does not surprise me… Anyway, people always say that curiosity is a flaw but it doesn’t mean that intellectual curiosity is also one… And how about the thrilling sensation you feel when you are comfortably seated reading a most captivating book?
Finally, I will end by saying that I am fully aware that no system in the world is perfect but the very fact that knowing that our education is not perfect should encourage us to constantly try to make it better I really hope that each of you, readers will take a few minutes to think about all this and start reacting to this real and threatening school crisis. As Malala, said: “Education is not only about learning to read and write, it’s about learning that we are important, it’s about learning to go after our dreams!”
 
MISS GOPAL (16 years old)