Gram­mar school men­tal­ity

Malta Independent - - LETTERS -

A few days ago, your con­trib­u­tor Salvu Mal­lia wrote: “We still find our­selves, af­ter 50 years of in­de­pen­dence, rooted in the gram­mar school sys­tem men­tal­ity of the Bri­tish Em­pire, geared to pro­duce non-think­ing, obe­di­ent sol­diers, in our case stu­dents, con­demned to fail their ex­ams if they ques­tion their tu­tors or de­vi­ate from the ‘right’ an­swer. This, un­for­tu­nately, goes all the way up to univer­sity level.”

How very true. Stu­dents be­ing brought up in this type of reg­i­men­ta­tion from the time they start kinder­garten are scared stiff and most of them do and abide by what they are told, be­cause they are scared that if they do not con­form they will fail the ex­ams. Sci­ence sub­jects are the ex­cep­tion.

Stu­dents in Ar­chi­tec­ture and De­sign have to spend the first year fa­mil­iaris­ing them­selves with the sub­jects. Dur­ing the first months they are told what things to buy to use dur­ing the year; some­times brand names as well busi­ness are rec­om­mended. Most of the ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment must have the ap­proval of the lec­turer/in­struc­tor. Stu­dents are ad­vised where to do their print­ing, to the sur­prise of the man­age­ment of the bureau; some­times if the stu­dents do not fol­low the ad­vice their work is not ac­cepted. Won­der of won­ders, if one were to buy a paint brush cost­ing around €40, which is hardly used, one will make it to be­come an artist.

In my opin­ion, stud­ies should help in the in­tel­lec­tual de­vel­op­ment of the stu­dents and guide them to ex­press and de­velop their ideas.

Joseph Borg At­tard

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