Why is Demotion (Repetition of Class) in Schools Stooped?
Has the repetition of classes for those who fail promotion examinations been stopped in Nigeria? Or don’t children fail examinations again? Those who were in Primary or Secondary Schools in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s or even up to the end of the last century will understand what we are trying to discuss today. In those days, at the end of promotion examinations, 3 comments were possible, any of which could be indicated, on the report sheet of a student by the principal. The possible comments are: Promoted to the next class, promoted on trial, or Demoted.
To be promoted means that the student got a minimum score of the required average pass mark which was usually fifty percent. Students who scored between 40 – 49% were promoted on trial while those who scored below 40% were termed to have failed the class and so have to repeat the same class.
While those who are promoted on trial always have a sign of relief, those who are demoted are left to lick their wounds. They will always cry their eyes out because they know what awaits them at home: The scornful eyes and cane of the parents.
But why is demotion stopped in most schools? Many reasons can be proffered.
Corrupt Parental Influence: Parents, a lot of those who, have these demotion experiences always try to ensure that their children are not demoted. They will go to any extent, including bribing teachers, to ensure that their wards results are doctored to ensure that they get the pass mark required for promotion. Where the schools maintain their position to demote the child, the parents will remove them and rake them to other schools.
Schools Influence: Schools also play their own negative roles in not demoting students. They don’t have the conscience or will to do so. This is because of their goal of establishing the school in the first instance. The schools are established to make money and nothing more.
Because of this, they can do anything for money. At the point of entry, they admit every student that applied to the institution irrespective of the scores during the entrance examination. They aim at getting as many ‘’customers’’ as possible rather than sourcing for quality students at the point of entry. With this faulty admission policy, they will put pressure on teachers to perform miracles. Even if the child evidently fails the promotion examination, they will still promote him in order not to lose him. The idea here is to get ‘’population’’ at all costs.
To address these problems, parents must be willing to allow the schools and their teachers, to do their work professionally. They must also be willing to accept the examination scores of their wards. If you know the actual performance of the child, you will be willing to guide him on the right path. Awards can be given to those who perform excellently while children that perform poorly can be appropriately counseled and guided.
To the school authorities, the goal should be to contribute to the total development of the child. We miss the goal of imparting and impacting knowledge when we make money the cornerstone of establishing a school.
This post will not be complete if we don’t also consider the child-centered approach to learning which does not believe in demoting a child. This approach, which is the cornerstone in Cambridge school/British Curriculum, recognizes that children cannot all learn at the same space. And if that is the case, then each child should be attended to base on his/her learning capability and pace. In such a situation, the expected result criteria for each child should be based on this criterion.
While high flyers can be allowed to move on with their speed, the slow learners should also be accorded such opportunity to move with their speed. Thus, learning in a Child-centered approach is not about covering the curriculum or scheme of work as is the case with the Nigerian Curriculum but about giving to every child based on need. In the same vein, the psychological effect of demoting a child can be devastating. It may even be counterproductive in the long run. Because of this, no child should then be demoted.
Here, we are faced with 2 contrasts: Demote a child that does not meet the average score when the promotional examination is taken (Nigerian Curriculum) and don’t demote any child, but allow the child to work at his pace (British Curriculum).
Which of these approaches do you prefer? And why?
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