“TEACHER, we desperately need your prayers. We prayed in the morning for this very exam individually but at least one collective prayer from you will strongly heal the world.”
A senior six candidate pleaded for my intervention before an exam earlier this week.
All I did was to call upon everybody in the room. We held our hands together in a circle and got ready for prayer. This touched me so much because many a time we blame God for not helping yet we neglect his presence in many undertakings.
This gave me reason to believe how parents have tried to impart the spirit of prayer in children.
Besides prayer, the whole process never went well with me. I have had a number of disappointments myself and felt disillusioned yet; they might have far reaching consequences.
I was disappointed when I was invigilating a mathematics exam last week. I could not imagine a class of thirteen students using only three calculators.
I tried my best to circulate the few calculators available in the room for the students to share but with little success. I was pushed into sacrificing my mobile phones to save the situation but that too offered little help.
My greatest fear is that teachers have not helped students to develop their thinking capacity.
Back in our time, we used have mental work lessons where we were prompted to use our heads to think quickly. This is long forgotten, yet it helped develop a child’s thinking capacity.
Spelling games were very vital whenever a teacher started an English lesson. These days a child can easily utter out words rather than writing given material.
Now, here is the modern world, I don’t object. But why would cheap gadgets like calculators ruin a poor child’s future?
The blame goes strictly to three people; the parent, the school administration and the student him/herself. All these three people can work hand in hand to solve the problem in whichever way possible.
Another yet agonizing factor is time. The paper is meant to be done in only three hours. The timing is so crucial to the student but how it is properly managed is the challenge.
Fine, the bell rings at to start and end of the assigned time. But what happens in between? In the course of the exam students need to know how far they have gone and then adjust their pace accordingly.
Since this is work assigned to invigilators, it is no surprise to find out how differently their ‘phones’ tell time.
One would use having many rooms as a pretext for that matter. It might be true in some sense. My understanding is that since the programme is on a yearly basis, schools or even the examination council ought to devise means of dealing with these threats.
They might seem minor but they are the ones that determine the six years that are summarized in three hours. They need not be neglected.
As if that was not enough embarrassment, then here comes an English examination that is poorly punctuated.
So the student asks me, “teacher, ibyi bijanye nibyi?” literally meaning, do these ones match? So I had to show her everything myself.
They complained a lot and at least some errors were corrected.
There was a student who complained about the whole system, claiming it only gives them chance to fail.
“How can these people summarise work covered in six years within three hours? They should instead commend our good work because there is totally nothing we have not tried” Joshua confessed.
Given all these obstacles, RNEC should revise their way of setting and printing and exams. Proof-reading is very essential to eliminate errors.
The author is a teacher at Kagarama secondary school