Lees jou gunsteling-tydskrifte en -koerante nou alles op een plek teen slegs R99 p.m. Word 'n intekenaar
Some easier questions for Limpopo students

How do you expect students to pass if you make their exams too difficult?

That is the question that Shakespeare might have asked, but never did. But what is too difficult? Ah, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare did indeed say. What may be too difficult to a Limpopo student who demands easy questions could be a piece of cake for someone who has swotted all night and knows the answers.

Gateway to knowledge: But only if it’s easy enough to remember, otherwise marching out of the exam room in protest is the only answer.

Allow me to speak on behalf of the many Limpopo students who walked out of an exam in protest the other day because they didn’t know the answers: “Anyone who swots all night is taking an unfair advantage over everyone else, and deserves to be kicked out of the university. Expecting us to swot all night, or even part thereof, and thereby suffer sleep deprivation, is inhumane. The university authorities must be reported to the Human Rights Council.”

The questions too difficult to answer did not apparently involve writing essays but offered multiple choices. These can be very tricky indeed. Such as why don’t Australians and New Zealanders fall off the bottom of the world? (1) Gravity keeps them on it. (2) They all have sticky feet. (3) The world really is flat.

That could mean some burning of the midnight oil. But this, for example, would have been well within their intellectual capacity: Who won World War ll? (1) The Allies (2) Germany. And who came second? (1) Germany. (2) The Allies. NB: Note to examinees: The order in which the correct choices are given may be helpful.

And this should be easy enough, even for those students who aren’t religious but may as prospective teachers be required to know the answer: How many commandments did God reportedly give Moses (1) Ten. (2) Twelve. (3) Any approximate number.

After they had given up trying to write their exam the students burst into song, for which anyone musical would have given them top marks.

They sang “pass one, pass all”, demanding everyone be allocated the same marks. I don’t know why they didn’t think of that first. Nominate just one of their number to swot all night, and then give the other 299 his or her answers. We used to call it cribbing, but apparently it’s okay now.

Which reminds me that even Stephen Hawking, as a schoolboy at St Albans in England, gave his classmates his crib notes.

Author, humourist and former editor of the magazine Spy, Tony Hendra, reports that Hawking sat right in front of him and “did maths and physics homework at a speed of light – a concept, by the way, only he seemed able to grasp”. Hendra and others “persuaded” him to share it, and they all got 100%.

Another solution may be to follow the example of many students in India.

This may be one of the solutions to the Limpopo students’ problems. Find a single whizz-kid among them, even if he’s not a Stephen Hawking.

Another solution may be to follow the example of many students in India. For them, just to have studied at university is an achievement, no matter what their marks. They advertise themselves on the job market as “BA (failed)”.

In my ancient day nobody complained the questions were too hard if they dopped and had to repeat the year. It was almost a badge of honour. It enabled them to celebrate two class reunions, as one leading sportsman and old friend of mine does with the 1952 matrics, and again with the 1953’s.

For Limpopo students likewise, there could be an upside to failure.

  • johnvscott@mweb.co.za
Meer oor:  John Scott
MyStem: Het jy meer op die hart?

Stuur jou mening van 300 woorde of minder na MyStem@netwerk24.com en ons sal dit vir publikasie oorweeg. Onthou om jou naam en van, ‘n kop-en-skouers foto en jou dorp of stad in te sluit.

Ons kommentaarbeleid

Netwerk24 ondersteun ‘n intelligente, oop gesprek en waardeer sinvolle bydraes deur ons lesers. Lewer hier kommentaar wat relevant is tot die onderwerp van die artikel. Jou mening is vir ons belangrik en kan verdere menings of ondersoeke stimuleer. Geldige kritiek en meningsverskille is aanvaarbaar, maar hierdie is nie ‘n platform vir haatspraak of persoonlike aanvalle nie. Kommentaar wat irrelevant, onnodig aggressief of beledigend is, sal verwyder word. Lees ons volledige kommentaarbeleid hier


Hallo, jy moet ingeteken wees of registreer om artikels te lees.