May 29, 2010

Exams.. And the resulting Grades

Interesting Article..Grades take the heat out of Indian Exams in UAE. Thought provoking, mind boggling and eye opening. What was interesting was that children were not happy

What are we heading to? Is this a monster that we have created that our kids now do not wish to come out of? Or is this some thing that we want to ensure that it remains for ever and ever.

Why can we not accept a system that grades us rather than gives us points right upto decimals that tell us how good or bad we are? What difference does it make, if you find out that a group of people are rated as Excellent or Outstanding, rather than saying he is 99.95% Excellent, and he is only 99.10% Excellent.. For what? To rave and boast about it? For parents to show off their wards at parties? Has that 0.85% made that other person a genius?

It is unfortunate that we have imbibed ourselves to accept this as the only valid mechanism for our success. Parents have grown up this way, they want their kids to grow up the same, and these kids one day will do the same with their kids.. What is ironical is that a lot many go to Universities where they are graded. So what if all got an A++. Do we have to show ourselves off against the other to prove our superiority?

Why can we not think about the kids? The mad race for that extra decimal point, the sleepless nights and the pressure that parents put on their children and the pyschological and emotional blackmails that children go through to get that extra decimal which is higher than Jane Auntie's daughter. The smug face that a mother has when she finds out that her son got wee bit extra than the annoying pest next door.. For What? For the Parents?

We have made our Kids into demons who measure every step of their lives as points. Even in an Average rating, there are high Averagers and Low Averagers!! Does any one really care? Average is Average.. Excellent is Excellent. Period and let us keep it at that.

Kids today are smart enough to realize this and it is a bold step that the Educational institutions are taking to remove a marking system and replace this with grades. Life is not about decimal points and 93.26 % vs 93.28%.. It is whether you have understood your concepts. It is how you perform overall. It is how you end up being as a person. The sooner the parents learn this, the faster they themselves might end up being better parents. If the parents do not support this move, unfortunately, what we will be doing is destroying our future that what it already is.

May 14, 2010

A trip to The Netherlands

Had an opportunity to travel after a long time and this time it was the Netherlands. Rocking Amsterdam, the night life, the free drugs, one would think. But no, this was all work.

My trip lasted only for a week, but what was impressive was the peaceful life that I witnessed. Of course, one would state that a week is not enough to make a decision, but the feeling was wonderful. A quiet place (I must be honest here that I was staying one hour outside the city), not much of a rush, people living their own relaxed lives.

The weather was another bonus. Winter just out, fall on the way, it was a blend of both. Evenings saw people leave the offices at 5 (unlike the late workers in Dubai), people having dinner by 6, shops closing by 8. Wow, why would some one from Dubai want to live there? One comes home at 10, and then you decide what to have for dinner? Shops closing at 8.. Sunday the entire country closed? Have I lost it?

Probably the fact of coming from a small place (Bahrain) had its overtures (difference being the weather). Life looked simple. You start early, end early and the rest of the day is your personal life. People manage their own business, the place overly European, though a mix existed in places, people seemed content. The ones who had moved there seemed quite happy not to move for some time.

Would some one from a city that lives on competition, people running for money, day and night, where flaunting of wealth is a common phenomenon, survive there? Would one leave all and move to such a place. Would a better quality of life be enough of a motivation to live in such a place anywhere in the world?

Difficult it may sound, but worth a thought.