Awards and Achievements – Part 1

From where I live, schools rely heavily on an academic achievement-based education system. My elaboration on the statement is that from my more-than-11-year of school experience, what the teachers cared most about are scores and good ratings. To be frank, I have come to the realization that the current school system is appalling and largely impractical (It is just my opinion and does not serve to undermine the integrity of the system but we will get to that later).

For awards, we learn

My primary years were honestly more rigorous than what I experienced during my secondary years. Every weekday, I had to get up at about six in the morning, take care of personal hygiene and hit the road with eyes barely stay open. From my observation, the situation does not only apply to me as it is apparently obvious a majority of students my age suffer the same fate. However, that is not all. In order to stay at the top of the class or somehow not to be in the bottom of the food chain, students would participate extra classes (not those exciting extracurricular) in the evening to boost their performances in main subjects i.e. Maths, Literature and at times, English (I’m not talking about English institutions because they manage to eliminate the stresses out of studying and make it a more enjoyable experience). What I am talking about are the classes packed with 30 to 40 even 50 students per class and back then I already realized the toxicity of studying in such a densely populated class. Classes like that make it hard for the teacher(s) to follow through with the students and most of the time, the teachers would call up random names from the list to solve some problems on the board. Progress tracking was the last thing I would consider in such classes. When these extras ended, it was usually 9 o’clock at night. Considering the time I could spend on having piano lessons or guitar lessons or even learning a third language I like wasted on endless hours of giggling in class, not paying any speck of attention in class, all I feel now is regret.  And all of the troubles for what? An immediate better score summary in class traded with health? A praise from the teachers for whom I had little to none respect (not my 2nd grade one) traded with so-called youth? It is still an embarrassment even until now. Look at what the curricula are teaching us students about: try to be humble, try to get the most out of the progress than to head for the end result, try to enjoy life and not to let fame & fortune consume you. From all I could see: blasphemy. Take a look at Japan’s system or America’s system or any other developed country in the world, you could still see competency but the education is also infused with creativity, social soft skills and what is best designed for fun and recreational activities.

Conclusion for this part: With the heavy toll of too academic knowledge being hammered into my head at such a young age, I feel my childhood was apparently robbed. Nevertheless, I was still able to make picturesque memories with my friends and survive my share of primary school life.

Coming soon: What I did to endure the stress.


This article is written on February 2nd, ’16 by Nguyen Hoang Anh. All rights reserved.

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