The Problem With Entrance Exams

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artThe problem with school entrance exams is that they are focused on one thing. The students that are good in Maths and English. The end.

So you can draw? We don’t care, just solve that equation.

So you are a great actor? Who cares, just read that Shakespeare story and answer the comprehension questions at the end.

So you can run and jump very high? Who cares, just calculate the trajectory range of this projectile. 

That’s how Education sees students, as little dots of English and Maths.

But what if we diversified the way our entrance exams are carried out?

We start off the day with the traditional Maths and English exams. After which the candidates are ushered into a theater where they have to do a 1-2 minute solo performance showcasing their musical or acting talents. And for lunch? You get to make your own lunch from a packet of noodles where it gets tasted by a set of hungry judges who leave just enough for you to feed yourself.

And then right after lunch everyone gets ushered into the art studio to draw, it could be a ball, an animal, an abstract painting from their head…anything.

After all the studio/classroom activity is done, they go outside and then the athletics begins. We want to know how fast they can run, how high they can jump and how much stamina they have and particular sports they are good at.

At the end of the day their scores are accumulated and the best students in each category as well as best across the categories are selected. Won’t that be cool? It would ensure educational diversity, give chance to others that are not particularly good academically but are good in other things.

But it won’t happen, not even a slight variation. because there is no SSCE grade for being a great actor or for running fast. And that’s what most schools are interested in, the grades, the students who can make them look good … so that more parents can bring their children to their school.

So they focus only on the Maths and the English. The END.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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22 comments on “The Problem With Entrance Exams

  1. Louis on said:

    So true and correct. I couldn’t agree more. There’s a big problem in this society. I think many. Africans suffer from this too. Talent and common sense is reduced by this.Ghana is another country where they focus on difficult maths and english too

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      Yep. And the west is moving far far ahead. They start identifying their Olympians by highschool. We don’t have a system for that yet, they respect diversity of intelligence we are still stuck on maths and english. O well.

  2. It’s sad but that’s the present state of things in Nigeria and i don’t think it’ll change in the slightly distant future. Truth is, every sector needs some major overhaul. the whole brouhaha is just exhausting.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      My passion is with the Educational sector. Breaks my heart thinking about the children that have to go through that quagmire of shit.

  3. Witness on said:

    Well done Ofili. I look forward to your articles. Really enlightening in a simple and engaging way.
    I do agree that our education system is myopic and needs a lot of overhauling. Scratch that! Total overhauling. I think that the idea behind English and Maths exam is that they are quite basic; any actor/ will need to understand basic comprehension and analytical thinking which the English and Maths (I remember Verbal and Quantitative reasoning) exams seek to test. But it’s high-time we moved beyond that so each child’s strength is discovered and development started at an early age.
    I wish the Government will read your articles; or when we that are reading it become Government…Well!

  4. Princesa on said:

    You’re right, I’ve always wished they incorporated arts and such stuff into schools.

    I love it when i watch foreign movies and see that the students are actively involved in extra curricular activities such as Basketball, cheer leading, acting, summer camps, dance classes, piano classes, art, etc

    Then those schools of Arts they have over there are priceless, I wish I had been a cheer leader and could jump so high and synchronize with others…

    Phew! I guess dreams are relative *shrugs* :>

  5. Oni Oluwamuyiwa on said:

    A whole lot of emotions, maybe anger, rage, or just furious, we met the system and dived into it. For one, I don’t believe in what happens in the class rooms, its too stereo typed and can be frustrating most times… Unfortunately we have a Minister of Education, which as far as am concerned does nothing…we loosing creativity for stereo typed characters. Over and Out.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      ah Oni…we are with you o. The thing tire me. Seeing the education minister and knowing that he is in that position because he is trying to get another position, pisses me off. Wetin man go do sha.

  6. Vivian on said:

    I failed Mathematics in SS2 and was on the verge of being asked to repeat a class(to my great horror) when I was literally saved by a ‘let my people go’ result from the JAMB and SSCE that I had decided to take as an external candidate as a text drive preparation for my official exam when I did get to SS3. So while my erstwhile ‘lucky’ classmates headed to SS3, I found myself starting my first year at the University. Funny how things suddenly turned around. Still to this day, even though I consider myself as relatively smart, I haven’t lost my fear of Maths and its great potential to effectively feed me a hefty dose of humble pie.

  7. Hi Ofili, i think that for us to begin to diversify education, we need to reposition the arts as possessing value not just from an educational perspective, but also in terms of employability. Parents push their kids to study courses that are perceived as being prestigious. I think that if they can see that the fields of study has future prospects, they will encourage their kids to study Arts/Humanities subjects.

    I really hope that educators will begin to pay attention to the “unconventional” students and nurture their talents. After all variety is the spice of life.
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  8. Princess on said:

    I think both parents and schools have a role to play here. While the schools hammer on the facts that it’s “basically” maths and English that are in the curriculum n nothing else matters, parents can also watch their kids for those little signs that show talents that could be encouraged, instead of subdued because they probably don’t want their child/children to become musicians or artists but rather, doctors, engineers and the likes.
    Back then in school….I was a constant A student in maths and I had my passions which influenced my career choice today….but I know someone who was not as good in maths in secondary school. She would complain and cry n try her best but it was just not working for her despite my helps. I remember I tried to advice her at the time to go for something else that she loves and would perform better at and she told me …..her parents want her to be an engineer for some reason. She struggled with the same maths in secondary school and in college and eventually got a third class.
    Now she is a successful business woman and from what I can see, she is really good at the sales/marketing thing. So I think parents and schools should try to encourage kids in more diverse directions helping to discover their talents and build them up rather than keep “hammering the maths and English nail”

  9. Nchewi on said:

    I just had to comment…! This post is so on point! @Vivian. Waow! What an experience you’ve got there. I can imagine how you felt. Life is one funny sh*t.

  10. U forgot somewhat handicapped kids who aren’t even recognised by the system. And I don’t mean the blind, the deaf, no, I mean kids who seem at first glance normal but have serious mental handicap like the autistic kids , those with dyslexia etc.
    Its very painful when I see dyslexic kids labelled as olodos. These kids are usually smarter than their mates but no provision has been for them.
    Our educational system has no alternatives for them so they either end up being drop outs or they master the act of examination malpractice and then they stop striving to improve themselves.
    And it hurts to see these children let go of their dreams as the system is too narrowed to take cognizance of their existance..
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  11. #Sigh
    I remember back in Primary School. The teachers said I was too young to go into secondary school. They even refused to admit me into school; said I was too young. It was only by God’s grace I got into it. Anyway that’s by the way..

    “because there is no SSCE grade
    for being a great actor or for running fast.
    And that’s what most schools are interested
    in, the grades, the students who can make
    them look good ”

    Making the highest grades in school doesn’t always qualify us for total success in the real world. Life has a way of messing people up.

    Nobody really cares about the non proffesional courses in the university… eg English and Lit studies, Human Kinetics etc

    it’s a pity that a number of youths cannot follow their dreams beacuse these dreams will always be looked down on. Rather they’d go ahead and read courses like Medicine which they’re totally not cut out for

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  13. JOB SUCCESS ACADEMY on said:

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