Monday, December 26, 2011

Results mess - History repeats

Ten years ago when we were awaiting our A/L results all of a sudden we were told that a new scheme is being introduced and the ranking will be done using 'Z-Score'. We had no clue on how Z-Score was to be calculated and it was time to go and find out what it was. Up to that point the the total marks obtained from all the subjects was used to rank students, the z-score change meant that a mark of Chemistry was not equal to a mark obtain in Combined mathematics.

To be honest, I for one had not been studying properly for the A/L's and didn't deserve to gain any sort of university admission for being lethargic for the larger part of my A/L studies. I can assure you even if it was based on total marks I wouldn't have got a big change in rank, although my head knew this my heart refused to accept reality and at that time I kept on feeling that this scheme change without prior notice was to be blamed for my bad ranking. At that time I was frustrated about the system and the failure of it. I was furious about the lack of transparency even more pissed that they didn't educate us before we did the exams. It sounded all too fishy, the rumor mills were working full time over this and were adding more salt to the perceived wound.  I personally know a lot of my friends who have a lot of scars left in their minds due to this change, specially the ones who missed entrance by a a whisker, whom rightfully felt that the local educational 'gods' had deprived them of their fundamental right. Some of these types lost faith in the system and refused to sit local exams, some others joined revolts. A/L is the exam which is perceived by a larger part of the Sri Lankan society to be the 'make or break' point of a student's life and to see this type of unplanned fiddling with the scheme was frustrating. Later on I started to think that it was just one batch that had to face this and it was settled once in for all.

That was until today, when the I read on the news web sites the latest results fiasco. I could understand and empathize with what was going through the minds of those youngsters who had sat the exams and the frustration they will be having at this moment. The department should at this point of time come out and make a transparent disclosure of the failure, the general public has a right to know what went wrong. Its hard for me to understand that the sorting algorithm of the computer didn't work properly. I can understand that people at the department are human's and it could have been even a very simple error of some sort, but considering the magnitude of it, its a must that there should be a public disclosure and complete transparency. If not there is no way which even a pinch of trust can be brought back with regard to our examination process. Also the explanation should not be something like "we used a geometric equation to solve a statistical problem!" Or rather it seems like all these years people had wrongly taught me that geometry dealt with shapes, sizes, positions and properties of space.

Finally to the young ones, your frustrations and concerns are genuine there is no second thoughts in that. What has happened has happened, take it as a challenge that has been thrown at you and keep your mind open to reject all sorts of forces, units, unions which will try to attract you and use you guys as pawns in their own battle. Don't fall pray for them. In 10 years time the world will not remember that you guys went through this and empathize with you when they offer you a job, its your life and your future so act wisely, be strong and make the right moves keeping the end in mind.

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