Saturday, December 29, 2007

Exam Meritocracy

Interesting CSM article on how the American school system stacks up against other industrialized countries :

Singapore's Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said it best in a Newsweek interview last year: "We both have meritocracies," he said. "[America's] is a talent meritocracy; ours is an exam meritocracy. There are some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well – like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, ambition. Most of all, America has a culture of learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging authority. These are the areas where Singapore must learn from America."

Those are also the things, I always thought were missing in the Indian system. The more things change the more they remain the same. We now have the unconventional schools designed to cater to an elite minority with a holistic curriculum is but "exam meritocracy" is still part of our cultural DNA. The kids attending these non-mainstream schools must go the extra mile to be at par with everyone else when it comes to taking state and national level tests. We realize the need for "talent meritocracy" but are not particularly good at fostering it.

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