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Let’s focus on education, not just grades

  • Published at 04:30 pm July 20th, 2018

A healthy education system is absolutely crucial to a country’s sustainable development

The pass rate for the HSC examinations has gone down slightly this year -- only about a couple of percentage points -- as has the number of GPA 5 holders.

This year saw 66.64% of candidates pass the HSC, with 29,262 students obtaining a GPA 5. 

No doubt, these statistics matter, but when it comes to looking at the overall health of our secondary schooling system, the emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity.

While a widely accessible network of schools with a robust pass rate is important, indicating the presence of an active and industrious generation of young people, what the government should really focus on is the standard of teaching and the quality of education being imparted in our schools.

For years, widespread corruption has continued to plague the system, standing as an obstacle to the continuous reform required to bring about improvements, and thereby preventing our youth from getting the education they deserve and truly flourishing.

The last few years saw question paper leaks to an extent never seen before, but thanks to the efforts of the government, this has been prevented this year.

However, the Education Ministry needs to focus on providing better training to teachers and prevent the culture of excessive pressure and rote memorization that is currently prevalent within our education system.

Textbooks with grammatical mistakes, sexist and outmoded ideas, and wrong information are also warning signs that widespread reform is needed.

And, as the prime minister has recently rightfully reiterated, technical and vocational training should also receive attention -- not everything has to be about regurgitating textbook knowledge. 

A healthy education system is absolutely crucial to a country’s sustainable development, and by not revamping the system as it currently stands, we are not only playing with our country’s future, but the futures of the next generation.