Last week, French first- and final-year students began their undergraduate exams. The tests were as much expected as expected which would allow full schooling to be approved through a single note. The stakes are much higher on an individual and collective scale because it is true today that the French system is being observed under a magnifying glass. France’s results in recent years in international research on the level of education in OECD countries are worrying our leaders. Social pressure is all strong on the shoulders of our high school students!
While the conclusions of these studies and the valuable numerical indicators they provide should not be taken lightly, we must remember that numbers are always misleading. They give a simple vision of reality and always rely on the interpretations made by them. Yet today, they are recognized as objective criteria of effectiveness. We live in a society of statistics and give value to our schoolchildren!
Economist Pierre-Eves Gomez, In The evil spirit of capitalism, Explaining how economic development has given birth to faith and mentality in us. How it has ultimately changed our lives has forced us to think like petty-capitalists, to evaluate our assets and maximize our performance, and, in doing so, to use these performance and more numerical indicators of these values. At this time Big dataPersonal development courses, the spread of professional coaches, who would doubt?
Yet it is fair to ask: Is it right for us to push our children out of school like this? To translate all reality into statistics? Is this what we want for them?
Because if the image is a valuable piece of data that makes it possible to evaluate, measure the law of the image, it makes it inhumane. And one thing we can’t afford at this time of social and economic tension is the lack of humanity. Of course we need to measure the progress of our students but we must not forget that the primary role of education is to build our children into humanity. Helping them to discover themselves, grow and fulfill themselves in the best way possible for themselves but also for the society in which they have a future. Let us also not forget that the rule of numbers excludes those who think they are moderate, without thinking about their wounded humanity, their violated dignity, their dramatic history or any other destructive situation …
We have an anecdote in Infants du Mekong that reminds us of this conflict between numbers and humanity, which must always be first in our discretion. In 2017, Cambodia’s God Children had remarkable results in Khmer Bachelor. 100% success. We were all delighted at such figures at the association’s headquarters when Martin Mendeiks, our director of action in Cambodia, warned us.
This statistic is not the sanctity of our actions on the ground, he said, as a call to our vigilance. If all our children pass the diploma, it probably means that we have not been able to reach the most deprived children: for whom such a diploma will already be an overwhelming challenge!
Numbers can tell us a lot, but that day, Martin Mindiax reminded us that they can also hide the things we need, or at least take us away from it.