Catch and Release (Day 3)

By on August 13, 2016

Human beings have for a long time been battling with gold fish. We have engaged in fierce and ruthless battles for a long time but finally, we seem to have lost the battle. You see, recent research shows that humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish owing to a number of factors. The lost battle is one that we have for a long time been having and winning quite comfortably until recently when a couple of geniuses figured out ways to make the human race both wiser and dumber.

Human beings have in the recent years dropped their attention span from a healthy and commendable 12 seconds to a miserable 8 seconds. And this is where the goldfish have capitalized and gone on to win the battle. These wonderful fish are able to maintain attention for nearly 9 seconds, a second longer than we can. Why? Because we have latched onto the ‘catch and release’ syndrome – thanks to the birth of the smartphone era.

When you walk into any learning institution today, there is quite a lot of ‘catch and release’ going on.

What is catch and release?

I am glad you ask. Catch and release is that unique character flaw that human beings have developed and mastered over the recent years. It involves seeing something, hearing something, feeling something, perhaps even saying something, and then turning around and forgetting it within a few seconds. You catch an idea and almost as soon as you get it, you let it grow wings and fly away.

Schools have somewhat set themselves up to be the greatest agents of catch and release. It appears the education process has been channeled to create more exam-passing students than learning students. And so when students learn something in class, as soon as they sit for the exam and leave that stage, they simply release whatever they had in their minds.

This might be the reason why many Ugandans (especially those who have been through the education system) are not able to sing the National Anthem even though it was their breakfast nearly every day of their Primary School life. Many Ugandans feel no need to understand the Anthem in its entirety because the stage where it was necessary to know the words is long gone.

No one is going to hound you for not knowing the words of the National Anthem. Why then should you waste your brain cells remembering something you do not necessarily need to know to stay alive?

There seems to be general acceptance among the teaching community that as long as children have passed exams, there is no use in urging them to remember the things they study and learn in class. The focus seems to have shifted to the examinations, tests and trials so much that the young people are actually not given a chance to sit down and internalize the things they study in class.

It is common place to find graduates who do not remember at thing from their days in class. Why? Because the days when they needed to know about Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation or about the  Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine are long gone. It is now about survival for the fittest therefore the knowledge you acquired in school is almost rendered useless.

This therefore begs the question – Is the education system giving the young people a raw deal so much that it never makes them better people but rather just machines that regurgitate the information they are given? Is school making the young people any better than they are or is it simply holding off their ability to think beyond examinations and tests?

These questions will continue to come at us for as long as we do not sit down and dissect the problem and figure out how best we can fix the gap.

This is the third of seven blog posts under the theme ‘Schools Made Me No Better’ as part of the #UGBlogWeek Challenge – a brain child of the Uganda Blogging Community. Feel free to drop a comment, take part in the challenge or share your opinion(s) on the blog or anything you feel like.

“Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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