Compliance, the Common Goal

Dear Dr. Kawambwa,

From an early age our school system tells students that in order to succeed they must excel in subjects that are conducive in getting them a good job in the future and these subjects tend to be math, science, reading/literature and the humanities. It is all too often that students are diverted from subjects in the arts that they show an early passion and talent for simply because adults fear that the child will not be able to excel or “get a god job doing that”. This leads to an educational system that exiles the arts by treating them as more of “supplementary subjects” and teaches conformity as each student is constantly pushed towards the common standardized goal of getting the highest grades rather than encouraging the exploration of the unique human ability for creativity and the growth of organic and dynamic individuals.

An article from The Daily News Reporter sites that several pupils in Tanzania repeatedly fail these standardized exams and so stay in the same grade year after year eventually leading to them opting to drop out of school all together. This is not to say that these students are simply not trying or smart enough but rather that they may not grasp this confined method of learning that has no room for creative thinking, as well as their peers do. Education should accommodate these students by focusing the goal on expanding student’s minds by offering more diverse forms of learning as opposed to constricting their minds by forcing conformity with the purpose of getting a high grade on exams.

The TED lecture featured below by Jessica White, opens with a story very relevant to this topic as it divulges a story of a young girl who is taught to throw her divergent thinking out the window in order to conform to the norm because schools teach conformity as being the only way to get ahead.

Dear Dr. Kawambwa,

It seems today that the early education system primarily in primary school and secondary school serve the purpose of getting students ready to take standardized tests and exams and subsequently get into university so they can eventually get a job that will make them money and thus successful individuals. This is immensely troubling because somewhere along this process which is fueled by the values and demands of industrialism and financial gain, natural talent becomes stifled and killed.

This video consist of a TED lecture featuring Sir Ken Robinson who initially opened my eyes to the magnitude of this problem in the educational system of Tanzania and made me realize the very importance of what I had always thought of as more of a personal desire to make creativity and the arts more prominent in primary and secondary school education. In this short video Sir Ken Robinson manages to articulate this vital point across with such intellect, magnetism and conviction that makes it incredibly hard to ignore.

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