Double Schooling
24 July, 2015
Double Schooling
This country has more problems than it is enough for one nation. Sometimes it feels like we are seriously sick and need major professional help. Examples of our illness are so plentiful that the space in my regular editorial column might not be sufficient to accommodate all of them. It should probably be more rational to concentrate on one disease at a time. The educational subject matter seems to be the hottest right now. This is the season of high-school
and the so called national examinations, and I am mostly interested in one highly topical issue – preparation of our youth for the exams and the way it is handled. There is a system of education in this country as it is in any other nation in the world, headed by an administrative body – that be Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. The mission statement of this ministry says that it aims at establishing modern and innovative educational and scientific environment in close cooperation with civil society, advocating freedom of choice, fair competition, equal opportunities, civil integrity, and respect for cultural identity as well as promoting acquisition and development of knowledge and skills necessary for social success and self-realization. Wow, isn’t this wonderful? I wish I could go back to my salad years and find myself at the desk of a school, monitored by an administrative organ with the above stated model of functionality. Ideally, the pledges of a mission statement should be running in unison with actualities. Is this true? Oh yes, it is! In reality, the situation is pushing us to conclude something totally different. I am far from criticizing the governmental style of administering the education – this is not my job, neither do I possess enough knowledge and informative material to do so. The only question I am intending to ask is connected with the tutorial system, widely and successfully functioning in Georgia and constituting a multi-million-dollar business here. I tend to call this ‘double schooling’. Almost all good and truly knowledgeable teachers of this country, who have enough experience, time and energy to teach outside their schools, are involved in tutoring the graduating high-school students in their respective subjects. I have asked this question many times and at various occasions – why are the students in Georgia being coached on top of their school lessons so massively? I practically do not know a schoolboy or coed who is not getting a tutorial help in the core subjects that are part of high-school and national examinations. The issue could very well be a subject of a profound scientific research, but I am hurrying to give a quick popular interpretation to it. In my limited understanding, there have to be two reasons – either the schools are awfully bad or our youth is sincerely degenerative. I could certainly have put it a little milder: all our kids are suffering the severe case of attention deficiency syndrome which paralyzes our school system, full of good pedagogues. For some unknown reason, our society does not seem to be concerned about the problem at all. We have gotten used to our children being tutored in an extracurricular fashion. Somebody might ascribe this egregious educational drawback to the infirmity of our public school system. Not true! Even the kids who go to certain reputable private schools have home tutors to get enough training for passing the compulsory examinations. To compound the issue and scrutinize it deeper, we are talking about a solid business model of national magnitude, counting millions on the profit side. This is why I feel a slight sting of conscience when discussing the tutorial issue because I am not prepared to deprive thousands of good men and women of the income they are so desperately fighting for. This nation would definitely be worse off if the army of tutors did not make the money they are earning thanks to our school system weaknesses and the inaptitude of our children. In a word, I hate to be a bad guy but the question I am asking remains to be awfully biting, and it will not disappear only because we do not want to answer it. I do not know of any other country in the world where almost every graduating student needs a tutor to cope with passing the necessary school-leaving and college-entering examinations. This is sick! That’s all! Everywhere, just everywhere kids go to school, learn there what they can and should, and then go to college if they think they need to be at college. The overwhelming and universal double schooling like ours is a clearly cut symptom of societal sickness, where schools are not performing their educational function, and the parents – poor and rich the same way – are paying a lot of painstakingly sweated-out money to somehow cope with those insurmountable shortcomings of devastatingly crippled system of education in Georgia. What to do? You cannot do anything in principle except closing down schools and moving the entire country to home-schooling. Why not? We are doing it anyway. By introducing the home-schooling system, nothing much will change – we are into it in any case. And our scanty state budget will relax too. Imagine how much money will be saved all of a sudden – salary of thousands of teachers and school administrative workers, and the technical personnel too. I did not know I was that smart!
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