Saturday, February 4, 2012

Exam Week – GVI Laos = revolutionaries!

I was extremely proud and beaming from ear to ear this morning upon entering the Year 2 Interchange Exam at Xayadeth College.  This week is exam week – and it has been stressful and a lot of hard work for everyone!

GVI Volunteers have been incredible troopers; writing semester final exam papers for classes they’ve been teaching for 2 weeks, vigilating the exams in a country where copying, talking, and sharing of answers (read: outright cheating with no shame or attempt to be discreet) and even teacher bribery are all par for the course, and marking hundreds of tests to record the scores.  Woah!  What a big job!

So, back to the reason I was so impressed and well pleased this morning....the students were SILENT!  And diligent!  And not copying or any kind of cheating!  Just concentrating on their own papers and recalling the semester’s work and their revision (and maybe, just maybe their own home study!). 

It was a great moment and I think all GVI volunteers and staff, as well as the students and school should be proud to be part of a massive cultural shift which will hopefully begin to become the norm.  Having western standard exam conditions will inevitably raise the quality of testing, the reliability of the scoring and one would hope the quality of the teaching and learning.  It seems so foreign and inconceivable to imagine that the entire education system consists of this vicious cycle of poor teaching, low quality testing and students who are so accustomed to this that they know they don’t need to actually study to pass.  Let’s see how things will change over the coming decade!  Exciting to be a part of the revolution :)