Creative students need support, too.
I wrote a letter to the New Straits Times a couple of weeks ago, in response to their front page story about scholarships being given to students with perfect grades. My letter pointed out a problem with this system. Not surprisingly, perhaps, my letter has not been published, so far and, since delays in publishing are usually not so long, I am going to assume that it is not going to be published. Thus, I have reproduced it, below.
So, my readers, what do you think? Do you agree that conventional scholarship criteria overlook the most creative students? Are we rewarding the dull but diligent with such a system? Are the truly brilliant being overlooked? Let me know what you think, in the comments. Thanks.
Don’t forget that creative students need support, too.
I read the recent news, in the NST, that all top scoring SPM students were to be given PSD scholarships. Now, this is very good news, for such students, but I couldn’t help but feel that something is being overlooked: creative students.
Creative people are not, by definition, quite like other people. One of the ways in which they differ, is that creative students are liable to be less interested in achieving perfect scores in examinations, than non-creative students. This might have something to do with the obvious fact that, in most examinations, there is little room for creativity. It is not, therefore, an inherently attractive proposition for creative students. A scholarship system which only rewards students with perfect grades is likely to be sifting out those with the most interesting minds.
Might I suggest a modification to this system, to include an assessment of the creativity of student applicants? Perhaps those who can demonstrate creativity in their lives, could be excused the need for perfect grades and still receive a scholarship, to allow them to study what they wish to, in the areas of their creative interest – even if, society sees those subjects as less “useful”, than other more traditional choices. Such a system, would encourage just the kind of creative society that would help Malaysia achieve higher income and greater cultural significance on the global stage.
The best minds, are not necessarily the best students. This should be considered by those who decide upon whom to reward and support. The best students may, in fact, just be the most diligent ones – and not the most intelligent or creative. The best thinkers are likely to be overlooked by the current system, not only in education, but in society itself. If this can be understood and acted upon, Malaysia would most certainly have a better future.
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