Making the Grade
The biggest goal of any student currently is to pass all the examination grades successfully that will enable them graduate at the end of the course. The current education system seems to support this goal so much that now students only look forward to getting the notes and studying hard for the examination. It has been a false argument that the harder the examinations, the smatter the students become. After they receive their grades, they toss that information and look forward to the next course unit, where the cycle repeats itself. This is the main reason why students concentrate only on the assessable information and ignore any other information, although it might be applicable in the real world (Farley, 2011).
The curiosity to connect and apply class work to what happens in the real world is no longer relevant because learning has become more theoretical than practical. Educationists have also been caught into this trap. Due to the rising demand for higher education, as compared to the low number of qualified teaching staff, they are too absorbed into giving notes, assessing and moving on to the next group. This cycle repeats itself, until the education system gives out a graduate that employers fear to hire; as such candidate needs the job training concerning what he should have learnt in school.
In my narrative I am going to refer to two readings. These are; what does it mean to be educated and inflation of grades. I will also explore ways of correcting the situation and give my recommendations that can assist to change from this traditional form of education. The discussion will also include the changing needs of the economy; factors to consider while developing a new education model; barriers and challenges to this process, as well as the change process itself.
When listening to lecturer in class, most students will always discourage the tutor from dwelling a lot on real life situations, as compared to disseminating the assessable notes. In worst cases, some educationists send notes to learners through online media for them to study the facts through recalling and prepare for the tests which determine whether they will pass the course or fail. The measure of success is totally ridiculous, as it means that whoever that can cram as many facts as possible is smarter, than whoever can relate and apply the class information into the real world. This measure of success in the education system has led to the rise of cheating in examinations, as students have to do their level best, so as to pass the ever difficult examinations and be allowed to graduate to the next level.
Need to Change
The traditional system of education demands that a student has to be tested before qualifying. The issue here is that the form of test is normally theoretical and one that only encourages learning of facts and tossing of that information, once the examination is passed. This situation has been largely appeared due to pressure on the few education institutions, as compared to the rising demand for education. It is also made worse by the economic crisis that requires cost cutting on even basics, such as education in order to survive. However, there are several changes and emerging needs that cannot be supported by this traditional system and, hence, the need to change. These changes include changes in the world economy; technology and fast changing information; entrepreneurial culture and dynamism (Gingerich, 2002).
When fresh graduates go knocking on employer’s doors, most of them feel that they need job training, so as to execute duties properly, since they cannot apply what they studied in class. This is a negative feeling, since these graduates spend hours attending lectures and doing tests. The economy has changed and it has emerging requirements that are currently difficult to meet. There is a need to produce graduates who can think of themselves as professionals, rather than students, when they come out of the system. These graduates will also be ready for the workplace immediately as they leave school, since their training will be more of practical rather than fact learning. Due to the connectivity between continents and the global village phenomenon, it is easy to import human resources from other countries with a more job focused education system. This means that our country is facing a lot of competition, and this is especially risky as its citizens can suffer job losses, as more human resources continue to be imported. This niche, therefore, needs to be addressed quickly with a shift from traditional education system that focuses on grades to a more practical and applicable learning system (Hunt, 2008).
Technology is another factor that prompts the need for change from the assessment based learning. This is because today’s information keeps evolving at supersonic speed. This means that training students to cram notes only to pass the examination will render them illiterate as information gets outdated. Contrary to this, a new system, which trains students to adapt to different work environments, solve problems and create solutions, needs to be created. The internet has also made sharing of information across continents to be a lot easier. Students should be trained more on international relations the way they interact and relate with other individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
Entrepreneurial culture is another factor that prompts the change in the learning system. The need to innovate, create new solutions and share them is an emerging trend. Currently, I feel like this need is not being fully addressed by our trainers, as the need to cover the syllabus and attend to tests has overshadowed the discussions of how classroom knowledge can be converted into real time solutions. In many organizations, older people hold key policy, making portfolios and the young minds get to contribute nothing towards generation of ideas. This is largely because in most cases they have nothing to contribute as they take time to fully adapt into the work environment, and before they rise to those levels, they are aged already. This leaves local organizations and institutions at a disadvantage, as their decision making process is carried out by older individuals and lacks fresh ideas. On account of this, more funds needs to be set aside to enhance the quality of education and create a shift from the current ‘making of grades’ to a more practical approach to learning. This new system will produce graduates who are innovative, entrepreneurial and practical, and who can offer new solutions (Kohn, 2004).
There is a need to change our learning system. However, several issues put obstacles in the idea of adapting a practical based system of education. These challenges include the fact that this system is time consuming, costly, lacks consistency of grading, and it is difficult to implement given the current demand for higher education. Under practical learning, both instructors and learners will require more time to cover all the information and show its application in the real world. The current learning resources are also not enough to comfortably train learners on practical basis. The insistence of research and practical learning is also very costly and it may double the current cost of education. Taking into acoount the current economic crisis and financial pressure, this move will definitely be under pressure. There has also been an increasing demand for higher education over the years. This places more pressure on the already overstretched system and changing to a modern technology based learning will make the situation even worse (Sarkis, 2008).
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Many learners and trainers have been swayed into focusing on assessable materials only and have lost focus of how to interpret this information in the real world. This has led to the production of ‘bogus’ graduates as employers view them. This situation has been very serious, due to pressure on the few education institutions, as compared to the rising demand for education. It is also made worse by the economic crisis that requires cost cutting on even basics, such as education in order to survive. There is a need to adapt a practical form of education.
There are some challenges to the idea of adapting a practical based system of education. These challenges include the fact that this system is time consuming, costly, lacks consistency of grading, and it is difficult to implement the current demand for higher education. In this case, more funds needs to be set aside to enhance the quality of education and create a shift from the current ‘making of grades’ to a more practical approach to learning. This new system will produce graduates who are innovative, entrepreneurial and practical, and who can offer new solutions. These graduates will also be ready for the workplace immediately they leave school, since their training will be more practical rather than theoretical. They will be able to adapt quickly to the ever changing technology and information.
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