A more flexible education structure is important for academic success

With the prevailing education structure, students’ creativity towards pursuing knowledge mostly settles on what the teacher has to offer.

Today’s classrooms mirror the domineering rigidity of the curriculum at all levels of learning, right from primary to university. The teacher is always at the helm of the class imparting knowledge while students are calmly seated endeavouring to absorb whatever the teacher has to offer.

This shouldn’t be the case, however, because quality learning is attained through interaction.

But the traditional system of teaching and assessment is still grounded. Such an education structure nurtures observers not performers. Yet, these rigid programmes are prescribed to teachers just as they are to students.

Teachers, just like their students, are confined by this model of conformity that is utterly outdated. They react to all facets of their students’ learning but the independent examination, which denies them of some responsibilities including the capacity to be creative.

If we are tired of the invariable global quality education outcry, we should, hence, ask ourselves if we are even near the desired quality education that we continue to pursue year in year out.

While I write this piece, I surely bear in mind that there are those that can ably define the current education status quo as the best they have seen. But thinking about the education system that nurtured me, enormous scenarios keep coming into my mind, but one that is quite outstanding is the lesson about the Maji-Maji Rebellion and the expulsion of Necker and Turgot as the French finance ministers to justify the cause for the 1789 French Revolution. Such were the worst classes I attended, especially now that I seek their relevance in relation to the 21st Century.

Classes were very undemocratic and lacked a sense of creativity and slayed the interests of many young children towards education participation.

The monotony of this rigid education system is therefore failing both our students and their teachers. Unless teachers are given the autonomy to assess students, they will remain second class players in the process of facilitating learning and confined by pointless rigidity of teaching to test.

The one to blame, hence, in this case is not the teacher; it’s rather that primary player in designing the curriculum and mode of instruction. A classroom is a primary office of any student, just like an employer would call for creativity and innovation at a work place, it should equally be the same for the students in theirs, which is the classroom in this context.

Our teachers are extremely experienced, highly trained professionals and ready to pursue quality. However, our tightly defined and heavily standardised second level courses offer little opportunity for them to exercise the extent of their creative abilities.

Teachers should be best placed to assess and respond to the students as they interact with them whilst learning. I guess it’s time for teachers to be empowered to do that for it’s when they will fully execute their duties.

Reformed education requires respect for the professional autonomy of teachers, granting them the freedom to make independent decisions with regard to what is best for their students. Education isn’t a product, it’s a process. Only teachers can offer true insight into that process. Reform, in the absence of such, is no reform at all.

The writer is a PhD student at Beijing Normal University

pontiankbr@outlook.com

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