You recently published a letter written by an 11-year-old about her experience preparing for the GSAT. It made me very sad.
Can an 11-year-old really want to read and feel "guilty", as she put it, because of the heavy burden to cram facts by a given time? The cruel part is that she will see these "facts" in various subjects again in high school. Therefore, she is being robbed of the excitement that could be associated with learning.
I have heard my husband, Edward Seaga, speak time and time again about the reform required of the primary school system, and I agree with him that we need to get back to the basics - the three Rs - reading, writing and arithmetic.
From a mother's perspective, it grieves me to see what children must endure when the exam approaches. At the age of 11 they are required to remember three years of curriculum (Grades 4 - 6). This is not even required of an 18-year-old in Upper 6th who has only two years of curriculum on which he or she is tested.
I have a high regard for the minister of education who has promised to review this exam with the help of a consultant. I really appreciate his willingness to listen and to try his best to solve the situation he finds himself in.
But as a mother, I need no consultant to tell me that:
* When you force a seven, eight, nine and 10-year-old child to memorise a lot of facts instead of preparing them with the basics so that you prepare them to think, you rob them of creativity.
* When you force a child to sit an exam, with no re-sit possible, that is cruelty. I know of cases where mothers are consumed with fear because their children worked day and night and then the child got sick just before the dreaded day. Sick with fever, virus? The state says regardless... they must sit the exam on that day and that day only, and there are no more chances.
Most of us believe that a sense of fair play requires a second chance.
In the interest of the little ones, most of whom cannot speak for themselves, I want to add my voice to their plight. Not fair, not fair!