Grade 8 exams must be retained

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday 29th November 2011

I wish to express my disgust with the editorial in the other daily to scrap Grade 8 examination all together.
The horrendous justification used and I quote: “The exams are nothing short of an officially-sanctioned method of weeding and forcing out children from the school system at a tender age and condemning them to a life of hopelessness and despair.”
Scrapping the examination is unwise and a poor call considering the overwhelming competition worldwide.
First was the call to restrict annual awards that recognises hardworking students of the year be­cause it was deemed discriminatory to other students who did not perform.
Now it is the call to remove Grade 8 examinations. 
What sort of children are we trying to raise here?
Competition brings out the best in a person. 
If the government is truly concerned about im­proving the education system, they must not remove Grade 8 examinations.
A proper approach would be to develop what I would call special learning centres for “slower children”.
The special learning centres should have teachers trained to counsel and guide these students so they can resit for the examination and move on to Grade 9.
If the government can invest in schools of excellence, then they should also consider investing in special care centres to help the “slow learners” who are struggling.
Otherwise, this  is not only unfair but also discriminatory.
The examinations and awards are simple indicators that measure quality of learning.
Removing them will not help identify which child is struggling.
We might end up inadvertently allowing a child to go through to Grades 10 or 12 without understanding a single thing he or she had been taught.

Jeffery Hasimani
Via email