Blog: CPE Reforms - what vision of society?
We often make the mistake of making the CPE become an academic debate to satisfy an egalitarian view of our society. We perceive equality as a measure that deals the same amount to each irrespective of his origin. We forget that the State has the responsibility of sustaining different classes of our multi-tiered social structure.
Thus the more fortunate receive a 'more equal' treatment than the rest. A Royal College Port Louis pupil is not expected to receive a better treatment than the pupil of a private secondary school because the effort of the latter extracted him from the elite and placed him amongst peers of the lesser achievement. Is this hierarchy the cruel product of a discriminatory society or is this the atavistic nature of all societies? Those who cannot situate themselves in the fold of such an inclusive vision of government choose the private sector and opt out the belt of the Welfare State system. The State encourages the creation of schools like ' The Orchids, l'Ecole du Centre' in the same way as it promotes a State financed system.
There is no discrimination in a system that places people in levels according to the effort put in by individuals while providing positive discrimination facilities to the weak and vulnerable. Where does the system fail? It fails in the lack of skills of our teachers at different levels of the hierarchy. Our teachers have been mostly trained to attend to the elite. Our parents do not understand that different students of varying abilities must be taught in different ways. While confessional schools seem to boast of being able to teach pupils of mixed abilities, we must strongly scrutinise the SC results of those pupils who were admitted in these schools with lower aggregate. Five years of exposure to secondary education do not bring any substantial increment of improved performance. Their SC aggregate is rarely worthy of praise. Our teachers have butchered the ZEP schools and have not risen to the level of competence expected from the investment made. At SC and HSC at least 40% obtain an aggregate that shows poor results. Most of the poor performers and failures belong to a hereditary generation of low ability students since primary education. Our system is unable to reform the weak.
It is true that we cannot determine merit at an early age of 11. This government has created all the opportunities to shift from one paradigm to another - it is the implementation that delays because the vision is not clear in the minds of those who are at the helm.
This country has the right to nurture an elite as long as it does not discriminate against the weak. Our system needs to create breeding grounds for innovators, inventors, people with imagination in the same breath as it fosters the same dreams of the less fortunate to scale heights. There is no need to be rich to perform well at school. But are our schools effective enough to provide the best opportunities to all according to their different endowments?