The fact that we cannot deny is that our educational system, since the day first, has been unable to produce good citizens high, quality professionals and critical thinkers. To the dismay of all, there are various reasons of it, but the main reason behind this is the culture of creaming.
Sadly, from primary till graduation our educational Institutions stuff the creaming culture in the minds of students, and there is no space for deductive and inductive thinking and critical analysis. Vital is to say that this curse of cramming has now entered in the roots of our educational system.
Unfortunately, in our schools, colleges, and even in well-known universities, students are asked to write or copy the same things in examinations whatever they have been taught or whatever is there in their textbooks.
In fact, It almost kills their critical thinking skills. However, pertinent is to mention here is the fact that in our country 90 per cent of students from primary level (from their very young ages) till their graduations always rely on claiming only to pass the examinations with flying colours. The question is: how will, then, our educational system produce high-quality professionals and critical thinkers which our country is in dire need of? Shockingly, the board exam papers barely raise above memorization exercises. Exam questions are, mostly, taken from the prescribed textbooks.
Nonetheless, all questions that appear in the papers are from textbooks’ exercises that students are supposed to have done in the classes or crammed day in night right before examinations take place.
Regrettably, a student who writes the answers of any questions in his or her own words does not get expected and good marks as examiners critically check if the answers dutifully produce what is in the textbooks. However, all this means is to do well, a student needs to depend only on his or her memorization skills but not on critical thinking skills.
Moreover, the culture of cramming is at its peak in schools as compared to colleges and universities. Woefully, in schools, teachers and students think and understand that nothing outside the books’ content can be asked, or else it will be declared “out of the course”. Given the system, anything out of the course is seen as unfair and illegal.
However, cramming is a short-term memory as student relying on cramming does not have critical thinking skills. It might be possible that cramming can be applicable for near-future examinations but it is utterly useless in long-term memory. One of the biggest drawbacks of cramming is that one cannot keep the knowledge in his or her brain for more than a few days.
Suffice is to state that due to cramming, lack of critical thinking among students in Pakistan is among the major reasons that Pakistan is left behind in conducting quality research. Such grim and gloomy figures should not be surprising at all. They can be attributed to a culture that discourages independent and critical thinking and adopts root learning instead.
Gruesomely, The society we live in is a hierarchical society where there is nearly zero tolerance for dissent and almost no scope or opportunity for new ideas and discussions. Besides we, as a nation, have never learnt lessons from West. We always give examples and praise them in terms of education but have never bothered to adopt their strategy in this regard. Mindful of the fact that why West is far better than us in terms of education is that there is no any concept of cramming. Examiners in West do not ask questions requiring only rote memory.
In fact, in some exams, questions are such that students are even allowed to consult books and notes. Because, the questions are not repeated from previous exams and, therefore, cannot be predicted. This strategy makes them better than us when it comes to education.
Lastly, our educational system needs to evolve to a level in which rote learning is not given much importance. It should adopt an strategy like that of West. If our educational system aims at providing good critical thinkers, it needs to root out the culture of cramming which is destroying the analytical skills of students.
Furthermore, it is need of the hour that our examiners should ask such questions in exams that need critical and thorough analysis. In this way, our educational system will be able to produce high quality professionals and critical thinkers, which a country aches for.