Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Just how smart aren't we?

As I approach graduation, I find myself concerned about how exactly I'm going to be a doctor handling lives day in and day out, because quite frankly after almost 6 years of textbooks and exams, I feel like I don't know... well, shit.

And I'm not even a slacker.I study, I get an 'excellent' grade every year and then I move on to the next year. Similarly, all the students in my class don't seem to know much either even if they study their little hearts out every year.

And I'm just talking about the basics...

There's this belief in medical school that you start to actually learn after graduation as house officers and residents. However, what kind of logic says that millions of pounds should be spent annually on thousands of students for six years, just so they could begin their actual learning process after graduating.

Also, you should keep in mind that living (if only for a while) patients are involved in this delightful learning process.

Thinking about this also reminded me of how angry I was when I was in middle school, when an Australian friend told me online how they were learning all about ancient Egypt. I remember thinking "How come you're learning about us and we're not learning anything about you guys? Wait a second come we're not learning anything about anyone else!?".

Of course in all fairness, our schools were adamant about teaching us the most popular crop in one country from each continent. They also made an effort to teach us exactly how many bullets were shot on the 6th of October...for some reason unbeknown to us all.

*cue mental image of a 13-year-old me banging her little fists on her little desk and crying "What does it all mean!?" at the top of her lungs*

I know you're probably thinking; "So you're trying to say that education in Egypt sucks? Well, thank you Captain Obvious!", but please humor me for I need to spread my despair.

So any suggestions on how to overhaul education in Egypt and start over? I'm actually joke, people. I know I'm kinda negative and pessimistic in general but possible solutions would make my heart dance.

I mean, there's gotta be something that can be done about it. Right?



haijekov said...

First of all, noone ever like doing anything for free. If the people doing it are not compensated well, then you can never really expect any results. a pound and a half per hour is not a good payment for TAs in college is it??

Second of all, after the financial part is taken care of, is the emotional or psychological part. I happen to teach SCUBA diving, and i can say from personal experience that when i feel the person (student) in front of me is just not taking things seriously, i find myself not explaining my heart out as i would normally.

How to solve both issues? simply just have reasonable fees your colleges and use them to pay people working there as well as develop the whole thing. and at the same time, only the people willing to pay would be interested in learning. As for the less privileged people who can't afford, there's always student aid which shouldn't be made as an easy process, so that you're sure that the person who was willing to try that hard to get it is a person that's also interested in learning.

I'm not a pro, so my ideas about the issue could be classified by more experienced people as complete BS, but it's seriously the only solution i could think of.

try to post more often dear, you're missed on the reader sometimes :)

Ravine said...

-Totally agree. Teachers (at least at public schools) and younger university staff are very underpaid and it's a shame because they have such an important job.

-I think that goes back to the actual content being taught. You can't be enthusiastic about something that's arranged and collected in such a way that it's just bound to turn off your brain and put you one step closer to shooting yourself. Syllabi desperately need some cleaning up. I'm sure you're an AWESOME scuba diving instructor though :D.

-I'm not quite sure that only interested people will be willing to pay. There are many kids from very able families that aren't the least bit interested in working hard or learning but they'll probably do it for the "prestige", if it's expensive enough. As for setting up some sort of student aid for the less privileged, it's a great idea but knowing Egyptians and their cronyism, it'll end up being squandered and given to people who don't deserve it and don't even need it. That might cause education to revert back to being a luxury for the privileged in one way or the other.

I think they're good ideas (thanks for taking the time to share them :))and I think a lot of people have other great ideas,too but I don't see them being applied any time soon. The government seems adamant on messing up education as much as possible and they're doing a great job at it so far. Yes, I know I'm pessimistic...:/

Thank you! You're too kind :D.
Unless you're being sarcastic though since I've been blogging like a maniac recently!

greyscale said...

cool post, i actually talked about our sucky education system a long time ago in my blog.

hesperia said...

ravine. not gonna talk about our edu sys coz we all kno that needs the "ensef 7amamak" strategy. but come to think of it, u r not alone, hun. neither r all egyptian med students for that matter. this is somethin cosmo common to all med students from all aroun the globe. the "i dont kno scrap!" feeling, but it goes and u learn to get thru it everytime, u should know by now :) however, if u r feeling all down about our 6+ wasted yrs, dont be, coz without them u wouldn't be able to START learning the "basics", which basically starts AFTER graduation.
good luck!

Anonymous said...

Quick answer: Stop trying fix-ups, lets demolish from the base and start from scratch. Let us not rely on ourselves or our ability of manifesting original thoughts, lets not reinvent the wheel, lets find a system that works and steal it. I'm partial to the British system myself.

Spike said...

There is no logic in this system. It just suxxxxxx... Eat up the notes that would get you through the next exam then vomit it all out on the paper. Nothing stays in your head. Through the relief of finishing that exam and over time you forget what you learned in the first place.

In the end you don't think your cut out for it and start panicking. I know how you feel. I have no clue how I'm gonna try and get 95%+ on the USMLE step 1. Especially on my first try.

In reality it doesn't even matter if you remember your undergrad studies or not. It's all just a formality. Fucked up? I know. 6 years wasted? Na'ah! As long as you've passed you're fine. What counts is your postgrad. Do it someplace like the States, Ireland, England or Canada. Forget Egypt. It isn't worth it doing it here.

As for suggestions to overhaul education in Egypt? Legally you could become the next minister of education through whatever connections you need. Otherwise you could terrorize the current minister or bribe him to do your bidding although you run a huge risk of being arrested and probably killed. Proceed latter suggestion with caution! (Unless you've got a shitload of money, then you could bribe your way out of trouble!)

Good luck!

Btw I'm lovin your blog! Very entertaining and something every medical student can relate to! Excellent stuff! Keep it up!

Ravine said...

Hesperia : Thanks for the encouragement.:D
It's O.K. really , I've come to think of medical school as an obstacle course. The ones who make it through will be eventually awarded by actually being allowed to start learning lol.

Except I have no illusions about our Academic level. Medical students around the world may not be very knowledgeable but my God, we don't even understand basics appropriately. That's got more to do with how we're taught though, unfortunately.
We'll see if I can fix myself somehow in the future. May
God help all medical students in Egypt to fix themselves1! =D

Ravine said...

Inji : Absolutely. I don't know why they keep using Egyptian Students as lab rats when they can always go for the tried and true.
Although one has to wonder about how many ~ foreign experts ~ they'll be pulling in from all the world to make it work and how many funds will be mysteriously expended for that purpose.

Spike : Wow, Thanks for the compliments! Very nice of you to say so :D.
I think we might have to go a little higher than the minister to fix education in Egypt *cough-cough*. Except khosara feehom the bribes.:P
Good luck with your USMLE exam. I'm going to go for it as soon as I can isa, so I might need a few tips. :)
I hope I can find a way after graduation but I have to wait and see how this year ends first, insha2alah.

marooned84 said...

Excuse me, I didn't know we were learning about ourselves in school! I am also sure we didn't learn any details AT ALL about that is said to be our greatest war, the 6th of octoper war. I don't recall learning any numbers at all about it, only that we were 7lween wel gonood bto3na shog3an w en baba 7osni kan ka2ed el tal3a el gawya (and they didn't even mention how many fighers were in that raid or what it actually hit). I don't remember having any numbers in our history courses, only latt w 3agn. I remember that the only numbers that made me bang my head in my desk when I was 13 was trying to learn by heart how many moons each planet has, back then when pluto was a planet (and I bet you 100 to 1 it still IS a planet in out science books eventhough it was demoted 2 years ago!)