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「菁英」、「分裂」、「過時」已成為千里達及托巴哥的中等教育代名詞?

千里達與托巴哥教育部展覽中展出的教材。圖片來源:Colin Campbell(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2017 年七月四日,千里達及托巴哥(Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)全國上下的父母都在焦急地等待著考試結果,這次測驗將決定全國上下9至 13 歲的兒童往後五年的學校。中等學校入學評估測驗 (Secondary Entrance Assessment, SEA)於 2001 年由教育部引進,以取代原本的共同入學考試,然其兩者為分級測驗的本質相同。

千里達及托巴哥政府以免費的普及教育為號召,但實際上並非國內的所有學校都具有同樣水準的設施與受訓職員。由於學校未分區的緣故,所以對於孩子們來說都揹負著進入「名校」的壓力,學校不一定要鄰近住家,更重要的是要確保能接受穩當的中學教育。從教育部的觀點來看,這或許是個實際的考量-因為小學畢業的學童會比中學接收的名額數量還要多,因此產生了分配學生的需求。然而,事實上,所有參加測驗的學生也未必會被分配到最適合的學校。

這個測驗最終成了一個將考試成績優異的學生分配至較好的學校的機制,而(入學後可能取得的)社經地位與裙帶關係也成了需要考量的項目之一。因此,家長們無一不繃緊神經,只為了將自己的孩子送進他們所選擇的學校。

每年,家長們都叫苦連天、並呼籲教育部廢除此測驗,但事情並沒有得到改變。一個教育部的前職員表示:「要是家長們決定將學校以學區劃分,這意味著將有大量學校的水準必須被提升,以讓每一所學校的水準皆相當。試問有哪一個家長願意在各所學校都還在提升階段時,就送家中小孩去成為新制度的白老鼠?我不認為有這種可能性。而這也是為什麼 SEA 測驗繼續存在的原因。」對此,美洲開發銀行(Inter-American Development Bank, IDB)也曾經表示「加勒比海及拉丁美洲是教育水平差距最大的地區」,與社經地位較低的孩子相比,出身良好的孩子可以學得更多。

教育家派翠絲‧柯斯尼夫斯(Patrice Cox-Neaves)對全球之聲表示,在1990年代中期,時任教育部長克勞蒂亞‧哈威(Claudia Harvey)曾擬定一套教育計畫-計畫內容包括由獨立的各科目專家所組織的小組,針對孩童在各階段學校教育中的學術表現進行評估。當二年級學生(八歲的學童)遇上學習障礙時,學生必須留級並且接受補救教學;而三、四年級的成績會佔最終成績的 40%-通常從這個階段起,學業上的壓力會因為接下來所要面對的考試而逐漸增加;五年級時(也就是考試的這一年)的成績則佔 20%。在該教育計畫中,每個孩子仍然能夠選擇三個中學志願-就像是千里達及托巴哥現行的制度一般,然而所填選的其中兩所學校必須位於學生的居住區內。時任部長哈威博士的這個計畫旨在讓考試制度在五年內廢除(並以在學表現作為評估依據),然此計畫從未實施。

20年後的今日,對於學術考試存廢與否的辯論仍持續存在。在2016年度的考試結束之後,作家納茲瑪‧穆勒(Nazma Muller)在臉書上表示:

An education system that rewards a few at the expense of the rest—at the age of 11—is not about education at all; it's about divide and conquer. Until the day ALL our children – even the disabled – have access to a relevant, empowering education that will liberate their minds and prepare them for real life, we must fight to dismantle this oppression and divisiveness.

一個消費了多數人、成就了少數人的教育體系。11歲(即進行學術考試),這並不是教育,而是「分裂」。在我們所有的下一代-包括所有身心障礙的學生在內-都能擁有管道能接受適當的教育,讓他們擁有知識的力量、自由的心智、並為真實的人生做好準備之前,我們一定要努力打破這樣的壓迫與分裂。

2017年度的測驗燃起更為大批的社群媒體用戶的怒火,因為試卷上的一個小錯就可能造成考生心理上極大的壓力。考試成績發布之際,許多以家長為主要讀者的網站與一些好心的臉書用戶都會提供一些建議,以為家長們作一些面對測驗結果的心理準備。結果顯示,有超過 2,000名學生得分不到30%,引發大眾對此教育成效的懷疑-此系統原意是為了培育出具有批判思維的學生。

在一篇臉書的公開貼文中,劇作家湯尼‧豪(Tony Hall)表示

i hope these poor children are able to survive this irrelevant 19th century education system. i almost didn't. they have my utmost sympathy. i am lucky to be still alive. come to think of it, maybe i did not survive.

我希望這些可憐的孩子能從這個過時的教育體制存活下來,我當初也差點失敗了。對他們的處境,我感受到極大的同情。我很幸運自己從中存活了下來,但一面這樣想、我卻一面覺得自己其實沒真的活下來。

穆勒(Nazma Muller)對湯尼表示贊同:

Fire bun SEA. Elitist, divisive child abuse. Fifty how much years after independence and we still on this shit?

把 SEA 這個惱人的制度廢掉。這是菁英主義、這是分裂地虐待兒童。我們都獨立五十幾年了,卻還要繼續這個廢物(制度)?

網路上也有許多關於SEA走菁英路線的評論。藝術家戴維‧威廉斯(Dave Williams)表示

A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX IS AS AWFUL AS SHAME. SEA season has provoked a lot of talk about the shame of the kids who didn't do all that well […] The shitty thing about the system is that we don't seem to see the equally destructive superiority that we inculcate in the ‘successful’ children. […] Our Exhibition (pre-CE), Common Entrance, and now SEA have been successful at ensuring that we're all deeply damaged one way or the other and that our society will never escape classism, inequality, and credentialism or a status quo from which none of us are escaping unscathed. Nevertheless, people have been acknowledging that the system causes shame – powerful shit causing kids to feel that they are inside themselves wrong, inadequate, and not good enough – scars-for-life shit – but we keep it in place because we either are or wish to end up on the ‘good’ side of it. This country has had too much money for us to be putting ourselves through this over and over again.

這種優越情節真的讓人覺得既可怕又羞恥。每當考試季到來,總會引發一堆討論、討論哪家小孩表現得不理想云云的可恥言論〔…〕這個教育制度最可怕的地方在於,對於那些所謂的「優秀」學生,我們似乎也在無形中將對其有害的優越思想他們身上。〔…〕我們的預試(pre-CE)、普通入學考試與現今的SEA考試已經成功地證明我們的社會已被深深地破壞、再也難以逃離這種階級主義、不平等、文憑至上主義,而誰都無法倖免於這樣現狀。雖然,人們也開始意識到這個制度所帶來的壞處-讓孩子們打從內心覺得自己是錯的、不適合、不夠好-這些傷痕會伴隨每個人的一生,但是我們仍停留在原地不動,不去、也不想想放棄這制度帶來的「好處」。

吉兒‧加達(Jill Lian Goddard)也懷著相同的心情,並建議道

Every year, at this time, I post words of grief regarding the SEA and the damage it does to our society. But I think it's important for me to face some realities. The SEA is there to line us up in order in the class and status system. It's just part of a system that does this. Even if we got rid of it tomorrow, saving children from the deep damage which it causes in probably 75 percent of the national population, it will change nothing unless we change the idea that ‘some people are worth more than others.’ Most of us in TT believe this. Some people are worth more than others. The worthy get the resources and the unworthy don't. Most of your order in the line is predicated on where, in the line order, you were born. It includes skin color, hair texture, family financial resources, neighborhood, education level of parents, etc. You know the drill. And a few people, very few, who have a specific skill set or combination of circumstances, are allowed to shift their place.

每年此時,我總是會對於SEA及其對整個社會造成的損害發表看法。然而,我想對我而言,更重要的是面對這些現實-SEA將我們在班級及社會中排列好、並在階級系統裡分層,而這也僅是整個社會制度中的一小部分。即使我們明天就能擺脫這個考試、將深受此制度傷害的孩童-大約佔了全國的75%人口-拯救出來,要是相互比較的觀念尚未改變,現況就不會好轉。千里達及托巴哥的人民大多數相信:「有些人就是比其他人更尊貴」-尊貴的人獲得資源、不值得的人則反之。而你在社會中的順序早在出生那刻開始就大致抵定-包括膚色、髮質、家庭的經濟資源、社區、雙親的教育程度等,這你一點都不陌生。而只有少數-極少數的人,能夠靠著特別的技能或是機運才能改變自己的處境。

當部分社群媒體用戶正與長遠的目標及其艱鉅的影響奮鬥時,也有人則採取更多實際的態度。

傅爾布萊特計畫(Fulbright )的學者萊絲莉‧安‧諾爾(Lesley-Ann Noel)認為行動的時候到了:

Parents it's time for us to develop strategies to boycott and get rid of this classist exam! #civildisobediencetime

家長們,是時候採取策略去杯葛、去擺脫這個充滿階級歧視的測驗了!#公民不服從時間到了

犯罪學家芮妮‧卡明斯(Renee Cummings)則擔憂,在報紙上公佈測驗成績的傳統正是犯罪率持續攀升的原因:

Publishing SEA results in the newspaper is a major safety/security risk. The entire country has access to such private information. That concept has outlived its usefulness, if it ever was useful. Does the Ministry of Education secure a release from parents giving permission for the name of the child and the school to be published? I find it most irresponsible and it needs to stop. Back in 50s, 60s, 70s, it was probably a big thing or a proud moment for the entire village or community to see a child's name and ‘achievement’ in the newspaper. For the child who didn't live up to expectations, it was certainly a public shaming. But in these high crime times, it is not safe.

在報紙上公告SEA測驗結果對於安全性而言是相當大風險。全國人民都能夠輕易地取得這樣的個人資訊。這個方法是否已弊大於益-如果它有任何一點益處的話?請問教育部是否曾與家長確認是否同意公布其孩童的名字及學校?這是非常不負責任作法,且應該立即停止。回到 50、60、70 年代,在報紙上找到孩子的姓名和成就,對於全村上下,或是整個社區都是個光榮的時刻。對於沒有達成期望的孩子,則會是公然的恥辱。在這個犯罪率高的時代,這並不安全。

卡雷‧麥(Karel Mc)則回歸最原本的問題,提供家長有用的建議:

It is at this stage especially that the gap begins to widen between kids who have access to prestige education, and those who now gamble with the chance of going to a school that is not considered prestige, but may have dedicated teachers, or worst-case scenario… not-so-dedicated teachers. And I don't say this to be a killjoy, but to make us all aware of the societal gap that widens between the child who made 91 and 95 and the child who made 83 and 60. We all have made those types of grades – or worse – at some point in our lives, but at junctures like these kids feel it in different ways.

Depending on where they go, expectations may decrease thereby decreasing children's output. It is even moreso now that our kids need our support, dedication, and encouragement. We must sit and read with them, supervise their schoolwork, and investigate the quality of education at school and at lessons. Let teachers know that we don't play with our kids’ education. Fire lessons teachers who are doing minimum for maximum pay.

And we must teach our children to be bold. Some institutions teach our children to be sheep. To be slaves. To be buffers. […] Do not let the system teach our children to be subservient. They sometimes try to kill their spirit and independence. Sociology teaches us that education socialises us into serving different purposes in wider society. Do not let a secondary school determine who your child is, and who they will be. […]

Our Government and our Ministry of Education are not doing anything to ensure that our kids are inspired and empowered in schools. So we must do it. […] I hope our future generation will be bolder than us, and create the change that we have failed to create. But they need us to place that seed in them first.

我們來到了這樣的時刻,有能力接受優質教育的學童、與那些需要賭一個機會才能上普通學校-學校裡可能擁有一些專任老師、甚至沒有專任老師-的孩子間的差距已日益增大。我並非想要潑冷水,僅希望大家都能對於社會逐漸加大「91分學童和95分學童」以及「83分學童和60分學童」間的距離的現象提高警覺。我們都曾在人生中的某個階段得過這些成績,然而在這樣的關頭,我們的孩子所經歷的,與我們當時的感受已今非昔比。

對於孩子們的期待降低可能會因此降低他們的表現。現下,孩子更是需要我們(家長)的支持、付出及鼓勵。我們應該坐著陪伴他們讀書、檢查作業、檢視學校與課程的教育品質。讓教師知道我們不拿孩子的教育開玩笑,並且趕走尸位素餐的老師。

同時我們應教會孩子大膽。有些教學機構教導學生要成為乖乖牌、成為膽小鬼或是應聲蟲〔…〕別讓制度教會孩子卑躬屈膝,這些制度有時甚至試圖抹剎孩子們的靈魂與獨立性。社會學告訴我們,教育是為了在更為廣大的社會中為不同的目的服務。別讓學校教育決定了孩子的樣貌和未來的走向〔…〕。

我們的政府及教育部並沒有為確保孩子能在學校裡受到啟發而有收穫做出任何努力。因此我們必須要做〔…〕我希望未來的世代能比我們更大膽、能改變我們曾經無法改變的,但一切都需要我們為此種下種子。


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