Monday, July 07, 2008

They are the lucky one



Last Friday on TV, a bunch of high school students where excited over the fact that they got their "bac", an high school diploma in France equivalent to Malaysia's SPM or SAT in US. They called their parents and cried over the good news. All because they passed their "SPM".

I was like, why? Why is that a big deal to pass a high school diploma? I would jump all over if I got 10 A out of 10 subjects and would had called my family, but jumping up and down just because you "passed"? Unbelievable.

But later I discovered that it is indeed something to cheer about. In France when you get your bac, it symbolizes a big cornerstone in your life: You are finally an adult, you can choose the courses you like to study, you can move out and start your own life, and finally finishing the boring high school.

They are the lucky one. Once they got their bac, they can almost guarantee a seat in the University. Don't need to cry over not getting 10A, get yourself killed bcos you can't enter certain University, or feel ashame bcos your neighbor get more As than you.

Some students already got accepted to private school through these school entrance examinations with condition that they got their bac. Those who want to go to medical school, law school, engineering school, will have their place. The difference being, the system let a bunch of people get into the University, but only certain students will be able to pass through all the exams and graduate at bachelor or master level. It is a system that allow you to pursue your dream, if you are capable. So, if you want to be a doctor, you can get in first year medical school, but you need to fight with hundreds of others for a limited spot in the consequence years. Some go all the way to become a doctor, some drop out and choose something else.

Hearing the explanation, I was wondering why people bother to study hard for this high school exam if only "passed" will get them through their tertiary education? The answer being, for some prestiges private school, they do take into considerations the grades you got from bac. So for students who aim to go to these schools, they need to pay the price by studying harder than others.

I like this system. I don't aim high at prestige school, so I can study just be able to pass the bac, and choose courses I like and study for interest.

Of course this raises another question: If anyone can enter University, will the degree still as valuable after graduation? Another way of saying, what market value do you have compare to a bunch of other who have the same qualification?

1 comment:

  1. there're other stories in EU education... many parents i knew of complaint the study behaviour of their children. I was asked the education system in M'sia and they were surprised that being able to score A's are priority for further education. I'd knew of some families who have graduated youngster who can't even write proper french. Worst they expected to get a job corresponding with their study after U's and to be paid high salary sans experience. If they can't find what they want..they declared themselves 'jobless' and get paid 'unemployed salary' ... tax free! :-(

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