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SS2: ENGLISH - 1ST TERM

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  1. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 1
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  2. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 2
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  3. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 3
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  4. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 4
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  5. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 5
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  6. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 6
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  7. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 7
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  8. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 8
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  9. SS2: English Language First Term – Week 9
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Topic Content:

  • Title: The Origin of Examinations
  • Text: New Oxford Secondary English Course for SS2 pages 34-35

Read the passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.

The Origin of Examinations:

          As they were preparing for their final examinations, two students in the college reading room took time off to discuss examinations in general.

          “I wonder why examinations should be deemed necessary”, said Musa.

          “Why?” said Obi, “aren’t they a necessary evil?”. “No, you haven’t thought of it”, said Musa, “you attend classes for years, your teachers labour night and day to teach you, and you spend endless days learning the different subjects. Should that not be enough?”

          “I see, quite interesting,” said Obi, “Except that you’ll find it pretty difficult to propose a substitute, to work out a different yardstick to decide who deserves a certificate.”

          “Look, my brother,” said Musa, are apprentice mechanics, carpenters, tailors and masons subjected to the rituals of examinations before they are adjudged competent to set up on their own? Or, does a father set up an examination for his son whom he has been taking to the farm before allowing him to set up his own farm? Of course, not. Besides, when there are many bakers in a street, do we set up an examination for them to decide whose cake is the best? No, of course. We know the best through their products.”

          “I see”, said Obi, “but don’t you think things must be different with academics? For instance, how else can we know who is the best and who is the worst?”

          “That’s the point you’re missing,” stressed Musa.

          “There shouldn’t be any need to distinguish between the best and the worst. When you say someone is the best does it mean he’d be the most successful in life? Some students who did not do so well at school are now successful businessmen. Some have, in fact, employed the so-called best students”. “So why all the hullabaloo about exams?” asked Obi. “Why do I have to labour myself to death sweating over formulae? I wonder who invented examinations?”

          “Don’t mind the idiot”, said Musa. It was a man from China, long ago. He most probably wanted to put students in their place. If he had confined his invention to China, I wouldn’t have minded, but the fool succeeded in selling his ideas to us, poor Africans, knowing we would always copy others”.

(Adapted from WASSCE November ’95)

Questions and Answers:

1. What are the attitudes of Musa and Obi towards examinations at the beginning of the discussion?

A – The attitudes of Musa and Obi towards examinations at the beginning of the discussion are Musa thinks examinations are unnecessary while Obi thinks examinations are a necessary evil.

 

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