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Essay Question: If you could change one thing about your school, what would that be and why?

If you were to see the number of suggestion slips stuffed into my schools Suggestion Box, you would be shocked. Granted, some of the suggestions are rubbish but I do agree with many of them. There are many ways in which my school could be improved, many weaknesses that need seeing to. Seeing as I was asked to state and elaborate on only one change I would like to make on my school, the most prominent change I would make is abolishing my school examination system. From primary school to the end of their tertiary education, students face the daunting task of preparing for examinations every single year. So much time and emotion is poured into preparing for examinations.

Advocates of the system contend that annual examinations are a good way of training children for the stress of life after school, where deadlines and sales quotas need to be met, and work completed methodically with minimum fuss. Government examinations are also said to be necessary yardstick for measuring the capability if each person for further education or employment.

Yet, are examinations an accurate yardstick? A persons true abilities may not be shown by written examinations. There are many notable people who did not complete their formal education but accomplished great things. Bill Gates, founder of the software giant Microsoft, and one of the wealthiest people in the world, dropped out of Harvard in his freshman year. Winston Churchill, a school dropout yet he became one of Englands greatest statesmen, a national saviour in World War 2. Another fine example is Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Clearly, some talents and forms of ingenuity go undetected in examinations.

Another problem related to our system of examinations is that teachers become too examoriented. They race through the syllabus so that they can cover everything in it in time for the examinations regardless of whether their students have understood the material. The weaker students often end up the victims in this race. They are left far behind the rest of the class. They become more and more discouraged as they understand less and less of the lessons, to the point that they hardly care if they pass or fail. Sadly, this attitude will be carried with them into adult life.

What about the swots? Well, speaking as one, I confess that I often wonder whether it is worth it. We rush from one tuition class to another and we spend most of our time studying for tests and examinations, or doing our homework. All through the school semester, we only have one thought in mind that is to excel in the examinations. Is this really living? A related point is that some students are so occupied with their studies that they do not develop their potential in other fields. It is true that there are many clubs and societies in the school. However, many students just do not have the time to make full use of these extracurricular

activities. They have to study, study, study. So, our emphasis on examinations is indirectly producing people who are only trained to study and reproduce facts rather than well-rounded individuals.

In conclusion, while I realise that it will be impossible to do away with all examinations, I feel that they should be given less importance within the school system. For example, instead of basing entry qualifications on one examination, students should also be evaluated through the cumulative marks of tests and assignments. Furthermore, educationalists, employers, parents and the students themselves should always be reminded that the results of examinations are not equal to the sum of the net worth of the individual.