Differentiation in the school system


All schools with the IGCSE system have different categories. In the school that I am in, for example, there are three different types of sets. The first is for English, the second is for Math and the third is for all other subjects. The first group is where students who get good grades are placed. The second group is where average students are placed. The third group is for students who need to work hard and children who have difficulties in studies.

This is not the best way to place children in classes, as it lowers their self-confidence and makes them feel inferior, especially for children who are in the lowest group. Although it encourages children to work harder to achieve what they want, this causes bullying.

This is not the only problem students face. Since they are in the lower groups, their parents start to complain and compare their children with other students. So students feel disappointed in themselves. Also, if one of their friends is in a top category, they start to feel inferior and can no longer focus on their own talents and areas they are good in.

Children then start to act like someone they are not. They are no longer true to themselves and to others. Dividing students into categories separates them and does not encourage them to mingle with students who are not in their group. There are some exceptions, of course, but not always.

In Finland, the “strategy for achieving equality and excellence in education has been based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system without selecting, tracking or ranking students in their common basic education”. (Mitchell, Timothy: The American Political Science Review; March, 1991). This does not draw any kind of barriers between students and most of them learn to be smart and creative with different people surrounding them. Some share the same talents and can teach them to others, and students can help other children with their studies.

If this type of system can be adopted, then many children will not be self-conscious about themselves and this may lead them to become smarter and more creative. The number of children who graduate from school with flying colors may increase, rather than students graduating with a passing grade.

By Ashlyn Sequeira
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