Tuesday, July 17, 2007


So I had to get up early this morning and race over to one of the international schools around Kampala. One of my students was going for an admissions interview, and he needed a current school report form. The school where I work has only early years and primary departments, so after Year 6, the children must transfer schools. Our headteacher is out of the country, so the parents requested that I complete the form. It was painless enough until I got to number 7:

How can one quantify another person's academic potential? Especially an 11-year-old. Academic potential... I didn't know how to answer that question; it just didn't seem fair. I could discuss at length how this child performed in the past, what his current strenghts and challenges are and what I think he needs for future success; however, this child's talent and ability are much more complex than a number between one and ten. After consulting with a few trusted individuals, each quite talented in the realm of bullshit, we came up with a number. I still don't feel good about it, but an answer for each question was required. He needs to get into school, so I played their game. Sellout?

If you feel like you need a good smile today, just watch.

Mika - Lollipop lyrics

Thanx, B


The 27th Comrade said...

This quantificantion nonsense ... what worries me is that I would score low in any of those quantifications. What sinister fate awaits me and people like me, in this world that is obsessed with the wrong way to look at (and quantify) aptitude/capability? They think performance is (a) test(s) is a nice way to quantify. Few things under the sun are half as wrong. :o(

Cheri said...

Araali Nuga?????

Timothy said...

@ 27th Comrade: It sounds like our educational philosophies are more similar than our political ones. If you want to get me into a passionate discussion, lure me into one about education.

@ Cheri: The name araalinuga (I like it lowercase) is the result of four years of transition and evolution. When I first came to Uganda, five years ago, I lived with a Banyoro family. Of course they had to give me empaako. Hence, Araali. I lived in a rural area of Hoima for three years, was known primarily as Araali and became quite fond of the name. When I left Uganda and headed to a small island in the South Pacific, I began my first blog to keep friends around the globe updated on my whereabouts and what I was up to. I called the blog araalinas: Araali in American Samoa. When I left AS for the USA, my next blog, documenting my stint there was araalinusa. Now, because Araali is in Uganda (I came bace a year ago), it is araalinuga. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you leaving a comment.