Perhaps I’m not the only one whose life has been haunted by so many tests. From elementary to college, it took me 20 years to finally get out from the chain of “formal education.” At second grade in high school, I got a low score after taking a test in the subject of chemistry, and it ruined my plan to be an architect. I was unable to go to A1 class (natural sciences), and I was placed at A3 class instead (social studies). After graduating high school, I couldn’t take the architectural major because I didn’t came from A1 class. No universities allowed us to do that back then.
I have to take the Economics major, and spent 8 horrible years in college. Now I’m working as an Administration staff, with no passion whatsoever and forgetting what every teacher have taught me for as long as 20 boring years.
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That was one of the reason why I hate tests. And to make it worse, the education system in Indonesia haven’t move forward to a better future. While other countries such as China and the United States are continuously reformed their education system, we are still struggling on how to make the BOS (school’s operational fund from the government) free from corruption. But let’s not lose hope, we can try to monitor and share some thoughts about education by ourselves, to friends, families, and maybe to the educators.
Back to those tests. I agree with what the US president Barack Obama said: “All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test, and that’s not going to make education interesting.” And he got a point, one of the reason why tests are useless is because it makes the process of gaining knowledge to be boring. To my opinion, this is an important fact that we all need to think about.
What President Obama said during his explanation on the updates of his program “No Child Left Behind” is true. And it is no doubt that every country must consider this matter highly important for their educational system. Including China, who through a recent survey have emerged as a powerful country when it comes to in the field of education. They spectacularly rebuilt their system as a modern, high-performance and also egalitarian. And once again, the use of traditional teaching methods are being questioned. How can a system designed 60 years ago could possibly matches China’s goal to engage with modernity, technology, and the world?
Chinese experts have sought to deviate from the pattern of exam-oriented teaching and learning to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and lifelong learning attitudes in students, and to turn tedious study into a pleasant experience. (read more)
Now enough with the trip to USA and China and let’s go back to Indonesia. Our educational foundation (the Indonesian educational curriculum) was latest revised on 2006 and we have our ministry of education who plan, supervise, and in charge to develop/improve our system. We have received enormous assistance from the world bank (so if the reason is insufficient fund, then we know that there are institutions who can help us), but why does it feels like we are still experiencing a major failure in creating bright students? I admit that we have Indonesian students who won international awards, but how many are them compared to the rest of the nation?
It’s not impossible for us to have prodigies, genius children, and to make education as part of everyone’s right. But in order to achieve that, perhaps we must no longer trapped by the old, traditional, way of thinking that test scores are everything and start paying attention to what other countries are doing for their people.
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(I also wrote this article on my “IMO Blog– JabberGibber)