This past Monday, course reviews began for students who are finishing the 12th grade and will soon be taking university entrance exams. Last year this issue raised a great deal of controversy due to the disastrous test scores, especially in math. Many parents complained that the exams were “too tough.”
In my opinion the issue is much more complex. It goes beyond issues of the quality of televised reviews or whether the exam is too demanding.
The problem is the poor preparation acquired by these students, who for more than six years have been dragged along by a faulty educational system made up principally of “fast-track teachers” (youth who have not been assessed as to whether they have the aptitude for teaching; have not even been evaluated as to the degree or depth of their knowledge, and have been subjected to quick preparation with the objective of making up for our nation’s shortage of teachers).
Nor should we forget that during those years of educational reform, secondary education teachers (fast-track or not) sometimes taught up to four subjects. This was an educational system comparable only to the lessons received by Alexander the Great from his teacher Aristotle.
To top it all off, and so as not to continue citing errors, let’s keep in mind that most of the time the classrooms were crammed with more than 40 students, a practice that was clearly at variance with their learning.
A couple years ago I had the chance to help my neighbor’s daughter review her mathematics course. She had completed the 10th grade and wanted to go to the university. To illustrate her confusion, all I have to say is that it took her two days to understand how the fraction ½ was the same as saying 0.5.
The results will be seen in the long term. But it’s worth clarifying that — despite current good intentions — it’s not a review on TV that will define whether students come out good or bad on their exams. It’s necessary to face the fact that these youth will continue experiencing serious deficiencies as a result of an ill-conceived educational system. It seems that attempts are now being made to correct this situation, though in my opinion these efforts are too late. The damage has already been done.