Saturday 24 February 2018

Points system makes children educated parrots

Bring lifelong purpose into our education system instead of this regurgitation, writes Carol Hunt

The week after a Unicef report revealed that half of all Irish teen-agers have experienced depression and a quarter have felt suicidal, I started to notice the posters advising stressed-out students to call the Samaritans. Of course, it's exam season for Junior and Leaving Certificate students and one has to wonder how we allow vulnerable young minds to undergo this annual rite of torture. Because, let's admit it, not only does our 'education' system (I use the word ironically) turn the lives of many 16- to 18-year-olds into a living hell, it is completely and absolutely unfit for purpose.

But then, one has to ask, what exactly is the purpose of education? Is it supposed to teach people how to think rather than what to think? Is it a life-long endeavour, or something that can be dumped once enough qualifications are acquired to get a decent job?

Is it to develop character, to enable individuals to reach their full potential as human beings, individually and as useful members of society? Or should it encourage creativity and original thought, inspire courage and entrepreneurship?

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