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Graduation ceremonies taking a toll

July 31, 2014 - 4:00:13 pm

Graduation ceremonies are planned in elementary, primary and secondary schools soon after the exams at the end of the academic year. School administrations send invitations to parents to attend these ceremonies, which are usually held at very good locations.

Parents make special preparations to attend the graduation ceremonies of their children. The fathers put on their best traditional dress to attend the event, given the fact that for them the graduation ceremony of their children is as important as their first wedding ceremony. The male students also put on their best traditional dresses and practise going up the steps of the graduation stage.

Mothers and female students also prepare for the occasion and put on their best traditional clothes after numerous shopping trips, and spend time in beauty salons for hairdressing and other treatments to prepare themselves for the occasion. Some mothers and female students also go to spas to prepare for the occasion.

Despite the fact that preparations for the graduation ceremony cost families a lot, they happily spend this money because they are excited by the success and graduation of their children.

They await the event with the hope that graduation will open the doors for their children to take steps towards building a good future. 

The graduation ceremonies are always held before the exam results are out. During the ceremonies, the students are photographed carrying the graduation certificates, which do not carry their names.

A few days ago, some of my neighbours and people I meet at the mosque asked me to write about graduation ceremonies and the surprises that usually unfold later. 

After the graduation ceremonies, when the exam results come out, some students are disappointed and frustrated to find out that they have failed in the exams.

Students who fail in three subjects, for example, have to study six books for fresh exams — two books for each subject. They have to do this in less than 20 days.

The Ministry of Education earlier used to announce exam results three days after the exams. Evaluation of the answer sheets used to take place immediately after the end of the exams, on the same day. High school exam results used to be announced a week or ten days after the examinations.

In the 1960s — when answer sheets used to be evaluated abroad — the results used to be announced within three weeks of the end of the exams. This means that in the 1960s the exam results used to come out faster than they do now.

The question is, why is there delay in announcing the results of examinations? How can a student who has failed in three subjects prepare himself for fresh exams in less than three weeks? How do failed students and their parents feel after the graduation ceremony, having spent a lot preparing for it? What have the experts in the Supreme Education Council done to solve the problems of students and their parents in this regard?

I hope each of those experts puts himself in the position of the parents whose child has failed, while he is preparing for the graduation ceremony, and in the position of parents whose children failed because the examination questions were on topics not in the curriculum.

My question to the Supreme Education Council is, what is your response to families who celebrated their children’s graduation in official ceremonies that were broadcast on television and covered in local newspapers, and later discovered that their children had failed? 

What is your response to those whose joy turned to sadness after the announcement of the results? How can parents cope with the frustration of their children and their own disappointment?