Parents and Students: What Do They Think?!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 13 February / Feb 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

This article is dedicated to resounding Facebook comments by parents and students on a short cartoon by a page titled “Hafith mosh Fahem”.

Noticeably, parents are aware of their children’s sufferings and the catastrophic outcomes of education system based on indoctrination and memorisation.

The page addresses social issues in Jordan, with room for debate, particularly in regards to the importance of education and positive contribution to society and development.

Generally, these comments all point out to the negative outcomes of the education system which are unsatisfactory for parents, despite the tremendous weight on our student’s shoulders.

Selectively, here follows numerous comments out of the lot which mostly reiterate that curricular change has become a crucial necessity, not a luxury, and the establishment of specialised centres for developing curriculums and teaching methods is now a pressing need, in light of the massive drop in student performance in the fields of science, mathematics, and the English language.

One parent calls for a revolution in curriculums and school books, as well as in higher education, to reinforce critical thinking, now that indoctrination and memorisation has become the basis for education in Jordan, which is otherwise not useful for students after graduating school or university.

A mother too recalled the bitterness of her daughter’s first year in primary school, saying that the mathematics curriculum is too comprehensive, which required of teachers to cover it in a pace that is not suitable for children, notwithstanding other subjects; she said “have you ever seen a child in first grade finishing open sentences at an age when counting comes somewhat hard to them?!”

In another comment, another mother rightly speaks about the fact that most students in Jordan, even university students, know information by heart, but have no understanding of it. Compared to what her children are being taught in Germany, they now can think independently, and not just memorise blocks upon endless blocks of information and text to no feasible end!

Also, one particular father said that as students grow, so do their books and the number of units and chapters, which really makes it difficult for teachers and makes them run through the semester, especially the courses of Mathematics and English, not giving any of the subjects the time and dedication needed, for the outcome to be a bunch of taught but unlearned students; the lot of them.

One said that he was often shocked whenever he looked through his son’s books, and would often wonder what do they want of our children? Why weigh them with all this nonsense?

He compares it to schooling in Sweden, which once ranked 29th in Europe, and now presides in first or second place!

On the psychological effect our curriculum have on children, one parent emphasises that students no longer see school or books in a friendly light, be it because of their superficiality or difficulty, either way, students nowadays hate studying because of the over-complication; he adds: “this is in addition to rigorism and militancy in schools and the bad approach…”

For students, one female high school student said: “I am a 10th grade student. In all the years of school, I would always memorise all the information and just forget it right after the test… I would study, whilst having not the slightest clue, all these dense concepts which I have never ever seen, read or used! Our curriculums are all about indoctrination; no creativity or thought! Even mathematics has become something to memorise and get over with!”

I stop here, because there isn’t space for all the comments, even though I wish there was, to give all them the voice they need.

On that note, I advise all who stand against advancing our curriculum, for whatever senseless reason, to revaluate and revise their position, considering where we’ve gotten ourselves.

I invite them to visit the page and check out the video and comments.

Also, I call upon all who oppose advancing education to be objective and take a stand for the future of our children and the future of our country.

Books and our near-illiterate students should not be the stuff of conflict and political conflict. It is time we let the real specialists handle it, not the ideologists!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

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