Did I Experience a Good Education?
Over the course of my teaching career at both senior secondary and university level, I was always irritated when a student would ask me the question “Sir, will this topic be on the examination?” In asking that question, the student was suggesting to me that the topic being studied, no matter how stimulating, intrinsically interesting or challenging it might be, was not worth dealing with unless it was going to be examined and so contribute to his or her gaining of a certificate, degree or diploma at the end of the programme. In other words, the student was implying that the credential was the important outcome, not the learning. Is this attitude more prevalent today? What was my own attitude to learning when I was attending primary and then secondary school in the 1950–1960s? Were we concerned with gaining credentials or were we imbued with higher ideals than that?