Experimental education will get us far
Dictionary.comdefineseducation as “an investment in human capital that pays of in terms of higher productivity” (2017). Chapter two of The Graduate - Thinking About Thinking by Mavin Mootseng, states that the importance of education should not only be placed on quantity, the number of graduates produced, but also on the quality of education delivered.
Education is meant to equip us with cognitive skills and practical knowledge so that we can lead an improved life and become a competent workforce for economic development and societal modernization; however, is that the case for us?
The author further states that our education system lacks experimental education and that reading, alone, is insufficient for proper learning. Throughout my school career – and especially during the secondary phase – I was usually one of the top achievers in my class. This gave me the assurance that I would, without hassle, be accepted into college or university for the course of my choice and eventually starts a career.
My rationale was that all I needed to do was pass. For example, I excelled in Geography. To be more specific, I studied hard, never failed a geography test, and never scored below 80%. This, to me, meant that I was proficient in it.
In university, however, I was stunned by a different reality. At the University of Namibia, one of the modules I enrolled for was Geographic Information Systems. I expected that this module would be easily manageable since I had gained a decent proficiency in high school. To my dismay, however, I struggled to cope and barely passed the final exam. I worked as hard as I did in high school and attended all my lectures.
The problem, I eventually realised, was that I could not apply the basic geographic knowledge I had acquired in high school.
The shocking realisation was that: all I was taught to do in high school – in that subject and most others – was to remember, memorise and reproduce during the exam. This was, and still is, an unfortunate reality for many children in our school system.
To say that this would not suffice at the university level or any tertiary level of studies would be an understatement. To a large extent, our school system and the methods of teaching suppress our learning and cripples our ability to think, reason, and be creative (Robinson & Aronica, 2016). On a more optimistic note, I would like to evidence the potential and possibility for improvement. In high school, I also had Biology as a subject, the outcome of which, was quite different from that of Geography.
To this day, I retain both a fascination and a knowledge of about 80% of what I was taught in that subject. The reason for such an outcome, I believe, is our Biology teacher’s use of experimental education. The demonstrations and experiments used by the Biology teacher ignited my curiosity about the subject and fostered a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
At home, I would often continue my search to understand the experiments and delve deeper and wider into the fascinating things I saw and experienced. What our country needs is an education system that helps students rise in their various fields of interest and students, who can understand, reason and apply knowledge.