Our Education System

Education is knowledge and knowledge is key. Our education is received through the medium of a school-SCHOOL:an institution where instruction is given and this, is where our issue arouses.

Cuz I sat in my Assembly Hall just before an English exam asking myself if the world doesn’t care good, good people are being shot down in Palestine does the world really care what my opinion is on how the writer has portrayed a character through the use of similes and personifications? When I sat caged up behind that desk I couldn’t express the real thoughts and attitudes I believed but instead I put pen to paper the ones I thought would appeal to my examiner. We’re taught to think outside of the box yet are judged right from wrong by how many ticks in a box of checklists our work meets. Cuz Eminem’s words reach out to me more than Shakespeare’s words ever could but I get it, we have to look into the past to see those who made history. Martin Luther, Rosa Parks, Besse Coleman and many others we study, admire, preserve; all of these people share a common action, they stood up for what they believed in even if this followed a different principle to the one of their institution, they took a stand against the injustices pinned up by rules and regulations. Yet I’ve seen countless student after student do exactly this: stand up for what they believe in only to be sent out the class for ‘answering back’ A deafening silence hung in the air, helping me to ‘focus.

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‘ I tuned my attention out the window, the outside world seemed an illusion. Invigoratingly close, painstakingly distant. I yearned liberation. The invigilators voice boomed in the background and I recalled the thousands and thousands of words I’ve written, read, revised, practise papers, practise PEE paragraphs, notes I’ve jotted down, I prepared for the thousands of words I was about to write for the 1 and a half hours of my exam ahead knowing all of this hard work would be summed up by a single letter on a piece of paper. A*-U.

Those students that receive a U, an unable to comment sit bewildered? Cuz the only unable to comment us students really see is from our teachers. In maths they can’t explain why time plus a degree for so many still equals a visit to the job centre. We aren’t given a guide on how to even pay the bills that life stacks up cuz when we receive them through the post the formula to the circumference of a circle won’t facilitate. Us teenagers are hormonal wrecks? Seems our system is the real bipolar one for even the treatment of our age is undecided. Cuz I gotta ask if I can use the toilet till I’m 18 yet by the age of 14 I’m expected to be a young adult and make decisions which can either make or break my future.

One minute I’m five singing along to Big Cook Little Cook…whoosh I’m 15 and baffled staring at the algebraic questions laid before me. How can I possibly find X when I can’t even find the last decade of my life? Told I’m too young to understand, told I’ll understand when I’m older when really sometimes things are as simple as black and white.

Telling us our video games can lead to violence when you portray war like it is one big game. On the street I see businessmen earning more money in one hour then they give to a homeless passerby in a lifetime. On newspapers youth notoriously fill the front page: ‘Teenagers caught up in gang culture cause street havoc’ I can’t walk into the corner shop down the road with my friend’s cuz they have a two kids only policy. The shop worker eyes me like a vulture and I know she sees me as a statistic from that newspaper headline not for the individual I am. Our generation will work knowing that in 50 years time every skill we had to offer could easily be replaced by a robot and our legacy of labour will count for absolutely nothing. In assembly were always reminded; to be successful and do well we have to graduate and get a job and a house yet I saw a lady who owned not a single thing but the smile she wore on her face and when I saw the abundance of happiness within her I saw her life as the definition of success regardless of the size of her bank account.

Education should mean none of us get a head-start, yet I’m competing against kids whose daddy’s can pay ?30,000 a year for them to have a quality of education designed for the prestige. We have to earn a status on a job or university application when they can get one by simply writing the name of their sophisticated school down. Cuz I have to pay ?80 a month for a bus pass to travel to school when I’m 16 because at this point I’m considered an adult, yet I’m not adult enough to vote. Should be used to a job interview, cuz every single time I walk in through those school gates I’m entering into a contest of critical judges. A hierarchy where those at the top have a spotlight shone on them from those at the bottom. Whispers spread like wildfire, labels are given out in endless supplies, kids realise they can be cruel.

Where all too often being who you are means sacrificing so much. School is the last experience we all share before choosing different paths in our lives, yes when it works its damn right brilliant, but if the system has so many errors well what does that say about the stability of us as adults? It’s simple; you put in the effort and persevere and you can achieve, I didn’t learn that from a textbook lying in front of me but from my perception of the world.