Students should be given opportunity

Letters

WE are once again at the time of year for national examinations in PNG. Grade 10 students have completed their exams and grade 12 students are in the middle of their final examinations.
Grade 8 students follow in another week.
Unfortunately, year-after-year, we blindfold our grade 12 students.
We tie their hands together and tell them to apply for tertiary institutions before they know their results.
What an absurd system that makes grade 12 students make critical choices in the dark.
There are unfortunate consequences: If students apply before they get their results, they may apply too high and hope that they obtain good results.
However, what often happens is that students aim too high and end up not being selected.
Why don’t we end this lottery now and allow students to apply after they get their results?
It would be relatively simple to change the system for the benefit of Grade 12 students.
All we have to do is administer all short-answer question papers at the same time as the written expression examination in Term Three and then mark the papers straight away.
The multiple-choice papers can then be sat at roughly the same time as at present, or two weeks earlier and all these papers can be computer-marked within a week.
Measurement services can then process the marks and issue the results to schools within another week.
The beauty of such a system is that our students can then apply to tertiary institutions on the basis of their results and not on the basis of speculation.
Surely it is about time that we undo the shackles and take off the blindfolds from our Grade 12 students and give them an opportunity to make informed choices.

Paddy Kelly
Director of Education
Goroka Grammar School

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