When it comes to education, less is more

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

When it comes to education, less is more

The Ministry of Education has released results of the Grade 6 national assessment. There is concern for those students who did not pass, and the officials are wondering what should be done to bring them up to the expected mark.

Has anyone ever stopped to consider that national assessments may actually be responsible for poor student achievement? I graduated from primary school in the 90s, and the very first national assessment I did was when I reached Grade 6.

We did not have any SBAs to do either.

Over the years, the primary school education curriculum has become overwhelming. In fact, many parents are complaining that the academic requirements of pre-school are burdensome!

Why are we pushing education down the throats of young children?

Our children are burned out and turned off from education by the time they reach secondary school.

Also, because the primary school syllabus is loaded, they don’t really learn anything – all they do is drill and cram facts for the next exam.

We should not be surprised that grades at CSEC are often undesirable, because by the time children get to secondary school they are demotivated.

One of the best education systems in the world is that of Finland.

They don’t start academics before the age of 7! Imagine that – age 7! They don’t need to know how to read before that age.

Our Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda is giving children exams at the age of 7! Some primary schools are teaching kindergarten students to write in cursive!

In addition, Finnish students aren’t required to write any national exams before the age of 16.

Optometrists have found that starting academics early increases a child’s risk of developing nearsightedness.

Nearsightedness increases a person’s risk of developing more serious eye diseases that can cause blindness.

Finland also abolished homework. I know this point is controversial, but many parents are complaining that the amount of homework children get in primary school overwhelms them.

At least have an age/class limit – no homework for children in kindergarten to grade 4, for example.

The Ministry of Education laments the failure of some students, but it is the policies of the Ministry of Education that directly cause these failures. A massive change is needed urgently!

Harriet Tubman

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