Schools are instituitions that help us learn things passed on from generations to generations which is now part of our daily routine. Schools really do teach too much, in terms of the quantity of material taught. Many schools in this part of the world concentrate on teaching students to memorise large quantities of information. Later on comes the phenomena called "examination". Much of this is concentrated on the students' abilities to memorize and remember the information that has been taught to them. Most students merely memorise large amounts of knowledge and when it comes to examination, those with good memories do well, those whose memories are not good fail. This goes on until they get into Universities. The effect of which is seen when students join the workforce. What happens then is a re-education process to prepare them for the work world. What became of all that memory they were dumping in their big brains?
In the world of work what is often demanded from a person is the ability to analyse situations and make quick decisions. This the student is not prepared for. Many look with distress at their superiors like they used to at their parents and teachers for guidance. It takes them ages to get out of the trap. From what I study a good example is the subject of 'Accounting'. They know all the rules of Accounting and how to apply them to examination questions. But if they are asked to apply all those rules of Accounting in a real life problem, they woudn't know where to take off. Another example would be 'Economics'. All the students memorising everything there is to know about the subject, but when it comes to applying the knowledge in real life business, they fail. Quite often, the totally unschooled persons using their non-tutioned brains alone do well in business, and they know nothing about Adam Smith (Father of Economics). I've seen perfect examples of such cases in UAE. Even some of my relatives although un-educated are very sucessfull in business. As I said it's the skills, effective communication & experience that is important rather than junks of unused information. In a recent survey in USA, 78% of the millionaires weren't at the top 50% of their class, infact they were told by their teachers that they'd never succeed in life. Guess it's the other way round.
Rather than be told how to do sums students can be told to stretch their minds to think hard. This is almost impossible esp in A Level cause we've to complete the syllabus in time for the examinations. Hence even in Mathematics, the tendency for the system is to cut short all the bother and just tell them directly or through text books. For example they didn't tell me how is it that they obtained the value for pie. I was just told to memorise it's value and simply apply. So is the case in Calculus. I might not have problems now but will soon when I get a job.
A question to help us decide if this is desirable is to ask how often in life is memory so important. Isn't the ability to analyse and make choices more important. If a student can be taught to analyse and choose, it would be education enough. Also the Universities think they are lucky to recruit students scoring A's in High School. It discourages other students and then they too start Cramming for their examinations. This might well go on from generations to generations untill the whole school system is changed. Students should be taught to think and reason rather than to memorise.