Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I have just finished checking my half-yearly bundle of examination scripts and this post is just to let off steam. So many of us feel (and/or know) that our education system is merely a front for a graduate-manufacturing-racket, that it's a wonder that they still allow stumbling-blocks like examinations to exist within the system. The students write various kinds of nonsense, we teachers skim and suffer through the (mostly) rubbish-littered papers, and then the authorities perform their annual ritual of "grace" to ensure that the correct QUANTITY of students get promoted to fill up all available benches and coffers.
Some students write what they know, and only that. Some don't know much and don't write much. But some devious ones write pages after pages of perfectly formed words (with headings and sub-headings neatly underlined) which elicit no meaning whatsoever. It is like coming up against an optical illusion. Your eyes sees words, so your brain assumes that there must be meaning in the written matter. Until you actually try to enter that deceptive pool of words. Then it is like being sucked into a quagmire of nonsense-posing-as-sense.
Words, in spite of what Saussure and semiotics have taught us, are not always signposts of meaning. They are opaque: deceptive decoys to hide IGNORANCE, to fool the already be-fuddled-with-a-deluge-of-nonsense teacher.
Here, words are also worth MONEY. Only the students who leave their papers blank are to be chastised. For the others, the unwritten rule is 'Thou hast WRITTEN , therefore thou shalt PASS in the examination'. Because unless they are promoted, who will pay the fees for the next year's class?


Random me said...

Hope you don't mind my comment, (I came across you on the daily tale)this post just stuck a cord with me. I often work in my free time with adults returning to education, helping them to get their writing skills up to standard and am amazed by the things they were never taught in school, i always thought that this was a sign of what it had been like in the past and believed that there was no possibility that children in school now were taught the same way. Then my younger sister showed me an essay she has written and done very well in, i read through it and was appalled to see huge problems with structure, grammer and spelling (she had used 'text speak', you know where you remove all the vowels from words?) all of which had gone uncorrected,
To answer the question posed in the post, 'What are words worth?', it seems very little indeed!

Piscean Angel said...

Hahaha... I can feel the frustration in that post. Btw, what do u teach ?