I would like to respond to your article titled “SFB scraps supplementary exams” that appeared in The New Times of October 25.
A bit of background may help readers understand the context in which our decision to eliminate supplemental (repeat) examinations was made.
A high percentage of our students are interested in the end product – the graduation diploma – far more than the road traveled to obtain it.
For these students, having a diploma in hand assures a job with a living wage – and this is enough for them! They are happy with this outcome because they can begin earning an income without ever having had to do the tough work of attempting to excel.
Their strategy of doing “just enough work to pass” backfires when an unexpected question appears in an examination because they have not read widely.
SFB wants students who aim to excel – not “barely pass”. It’s a question of attitude. Students who attend class regularly do assigned homework and complete practice exercises rarely have troubles passing SFB courses.
The students who complain about the elimination of supplementary examinations are the ones who do not sufficiently value the incredible opportunity they have been given to obtain a university education. Rather than making the most of this opportunity, they make a mockery of it.
The availability of the “lifeline” of supplemental examinations reinforces a sense of complacency where we want to see urgency and a tolerance of mediocrity where we want our students to embrace an attitude of excellence.
Professor Reid E.Whitlock