Importance of grades

Importance of grades

Grades are an important part of every student's life in our current society. Grades were created as a mechanism to test how students are doing across different mediums (different course materials, assignments, quizzes, etc.) but lately, it seems like grades are used as a medium to judge a student’s intelligence. Students with a high GPA are deemed ‘smart’ and likely to succeed, whereas students with low GPA are deemed a failure. The purpose of grades isn’t to classify students into ‘smart’ and ‘not smart’, but to give an aggregate result of their performance instead.
The mentality that grades are determining factor of everything is actively harming children and deteriorating their mental health. Many students, especially in Nepal have committed suicide because of the pressure to improve their grades. Children have been led to believe that their health, happiness and even their state of mind are all less important than grades. Depression is rampant amongst teenagers these days for this very reason. This is a very harmful mentality to have and can have long term consequences for students.
But the question still stands; are grades really that important? What would a world without grades look like? The truth is grades do matter. As explained above, grades were created as a method to judge how a student is doing academically in all subjects. Without grades, it would be difficult to analyze how a student is performing. Grades will also help students track their own progress and set goals that they can compare.
That being said, the majority of students may not have good grades but excel at something else. Some students may not be passionate about schoolwork but score good grades due to excessive pressure from their parents.  It is difficult to judge how ‘talented’ a student is based on grades alone as different students have different strong points. Thus the practice of judging a student’s ‘intelligence’ based on grades is not only actively harmful, but it is also inherently flawed as that is not the purpose of grades at all. That would be like judging an elephant, fish and a chimpanzee on their ability to climb a tree. A student with low grades has as much value as a student with high grades. Lumping all students together decreases their self-esteem as they start comparing themselves with one another, when in actuality they all are capable of bringing something to the table. In fact, people who prioritize grades over everything else are actually missing the point of education.
Education is not about who scores the highest; it is about who can reap the most benefit from school. Children aren't sent to schools so that they can get all As and top their class; they are sent to school so that they can learn, and use what they’ve learned in their lives and become successful. An individual who manages to do that can be considered educated instead of an individual with multiple A+s in their resume, but unable to do anything with it. 

Written by: Saisha Dixit 

Edited by: Sabanam Thapa

Canopy Nepal is a team of visionary youths working in the field of education, skill and leadership development, diversity and inclusion. We seek to improve the quality and efficiency of education by focusing on the learners and reshaping the way they learn.

Towards the development of Technology-based Educational Patterns

From left: Shyam Shrestha (Chairperson of Secondary level Thematic Committee in High Level Education Commission), Prof. Dr. Bhoj Raj Aryal (Professor at Central Department of Management), Baudha Raj Niraula (Head of Education Department from Shankharapur Municipality), Jitram Lama (President of NGO Federation of Nepal)

A Conference on Digital Math Education was organized by 'Kids of Kathmandu' and 'e-Education' with the support of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) on 13th and 14th of June, 2019. This two-day event comprised of a panel discussion and socialization on the first day, and for the second day, a participative workshop was conducted.
The event raised crucial concerns regarding the education environment and changes in education patterns in response to technological environment. The government realizes the importance of technological advancements in the present world and its importance, and has been developing various schemes and models to integrate the use of technology in classroom lectures; for example, by providing various basic and proficient ICT courses. Introducing change in the educational environment needs time and acceptance, so it is not the reluctance of the government but the persistence of teachers on using the same old techniques. There is a lack of awareness about the importance and uses of ICT in education and everyday job which should be resolved, and the sooner it is done, the better.
But availability still remains a big question in most rural places; it is predominantly non-existent where absence of electricity poses as a barrier to ICT access. There are cases where misuse (and even absence of any use) has been witnessed. For these cases where abundant availability has failed to deliver desired results, changes shall be brought in the scheme, and the teachers who come with no preparation and lack any training on integrating ICT facility in lectures and with little to no motivation, need to create a creative engaging technique and give prior importance to student engagement. Some arguments suggest that the lack of rural school teachers is what drives the deterioration of quality education. Others object that it is not the lack of teachers but a lack of management. A solution for this issue demands availability of qualified teachers, removal of inexperienced teachers and ICT training to motivated teachers.

There are 3 fundamental factors that drives an effective incorporation of ICT in schools: modern technology, access to technology and learning attitude in teachers. Quite often professionals are well adjusted about the results, but minimum urgency is given to understanding the causes behind them. In many instances there has been questions concerning the gap between public and private schools. One major reason creating this gap is when the teachers pay less attention to the psychology of students and how their teaching methodology affects the attention span of their students.

The second day engaged all the participants in a participatory workshop schedule where the groups were assigned with respective topics and worked out possible solutions. The topic during the day discussed about utilizing, implementing and maximizing the use of video lectures in class, issues and its solutions to expand the reach of video lectures where most needed, and how to use ICT facility. The event successfully delivered rigorous insights from our panelists and all the participants during the workshop, which will further assist in improving the methodology of the entire process.

Kids of Kathmandu is a non-profit organization working for the betterment of marginalized and disadvantaged group of children.

Dress codes in School

School uniforms have proven to have benefits to the students. It prevents the hassle of deciding what to wear each morning, eradicates bullying based on outfits, reduces the stark difference in class, promotes school spirit, etc. But has the purpose of uniforms been twisted in modern times?

Many schools these days seem to care more about the students’ dress codes than required. I remember many times in middle school when I was publicly pulled out of assembly and threatened to be sent home because my hair was in one ponytail instead of two, or when I was missing a ribbon. Schools are really strict when it comes to these trivial issues, so much so that they have actually sent students home for having a slightly incorrect uniform. While I understand that maintaining discipline in schools is important and uniform also comes under that umbrella, schools should also be aware of the kind of message they are sending their students. I’m sure my school thought they were telling me to be careful about my appearance and stay neat and tidy while they threatened to send me home for a missing ribbon; but what I actually heard was “your one ribbon can ruin an entire school day because we care about your uniform more than your education”. I’m pretty sure this was not the intended message, but when I think back to those days, I am sure that I was not alone in feeling that. My friends used to be deathly afraid of the principal, not because he would reprimand them for their discipline or grades, but because he would yell at them and humiliate them for their uniform. Even back then, I knew that is not the kind of impression an educational professional should be leaving on their students. Students should not be afraid that their teacher might embarrass them in front of their peers for having their uniform slightly out of order. In fact, students should not be afraid that their teacher will embarrass them at all.

This is not an isolated issue either, instead, it is a part of a much larger problem. The way I see it, schools these days are excessively strict in disciplinary issues than academic. Teachers are more bothered by how long students’ nails are than how good their grades are. While issues like this should not be trivialized by any chance, is it really more important than a students’ education? Is a slight incorrect uniform really worth telling the students that they cannot study at all that day? Is that the message educational institutes want to put out there?

Priorities of schools do not seem to be in order. If schools start punishing students by suspension for having a slightly incorrect uniform, then these are the values children will grow up with. They will start believing that their education is expendable. This is especially true for girls. Girls who are punished for having a skirt that's half an inch shorter than the requirement, girls who are accused of ‘showing too much skin’ when all they’ve done is wear what wouldn't raise any eyebrows if worn by boys. Will the school take responsibility if a girl grows up believing that how short her skirt is more important than how educated she is? 

While it is the responsibility of schools to turn students into well-rounded individuals and uniforms are somewhat a part of that, I don't think that unless a student has violated major dress code by going out of their way to disobey school rules or it’s a matter of repeated personal hygiene, the school should not interfere in how a student presents themselves.  They can discipline a student if they wear an entirely differently colored shirt than the uniform, but they shouldn’t make it a big deal if a student accidentally forgets to cut their hair and promises to cut it during the weekend. And even if the student has violated the major dress code, schools should be mindful of what action they take. The punishment should never make students feel like their appearance is in any way of more priority than their education. While a school has many responsibilities to fulfill, it should not be at the expense of their main responsibility, which is educating its students.

Written by: Saisha Dixit (Canopy Nepal)

Edited by: Sabanam Thapa (Canopy Nepal)

Canopy Nepal is a team of visionary youths working in the field of education, skill and leadership development, diversity and inclusion. We seek to improve the quality and efficiency of education by focusing on the learners and reshaping the way they learn.


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