Sincere apologies to the children who wrote the Common Entrance Exam on Tuesday!
We are sorry that we do not yet have a government that understands that there will never be a one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning that offers the opportunity to maximize a person’s full potential, nor one that understands that testing the nation’s children based on a standardized exam at the age of ten or eleven to separate them according to their performance on that exam alone, is foolishness.
World-renowned physicist and all-round thinker Albert Einstein was spot on when he said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The beauty of this world and the reason for all its technological and social advances are built on the reality that people approach problems from different levels of understanding. None brighter. None dimmer. Just different.
We are working to get to more enlightened times. We are strong advocates for doing away with the obscenity of this child-abusing 11 plus nonsense once and for all, and the creation of ten year schools underpinned by a grade point average to guide the process, and devoted to holistic development and skills training. Finland has no policy of separating children into failed concepts of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ and because of this, it now has the best performing education system in the world.
We propose for Barbados the zoning of schools that would have the double positive effect of making our children feel comfortable as they grow and learn with their friends and neighbours over the ten years of their basic scholastic career, a time span that deepens bonds, cements community roots, and gives school officials, teachers and parents a long view across the growing stages of children to work together and with them to help achieve their full potential.
Until then, I personally would like to say, as I say every year, that children who take the 11 plus should not judge their lives by what happens next. Do your best but know that no one exam will ever be an indicator of your true knowledge, value or potential. Regardless of the results, be aware that your entire life is a learning process, and that some of the greatest minds came to full fruition long and far outside of the official school system.