Day 2: Exams, Attendance and Angry Birds

I’ve been hooked to Angry Birds 2 for a few months now. Something about flinging angry and slighted creatures at gentle, smiling beings reminds me of the world’s ways, I guess. It’s for that reaffirming strength that I keep going back to the game. That and the Arena.

For those of you that do not know, Angry Birds has different types of games within that one big game. The end goal doesn’t change: you catapult angry birds at pigs and kill em all. But there’s the standard game, where you play against just the, um, the game. You progress from one level to another, reach a perceived stage end, and realize a new stage opens up. I still don’t now how many stages and levels there are.

And then, there’s the Arena. You have to pay a ticket to get in, and once in, you battle it out with another player. And the one with the higher score wins. Your skillsets are different, because of different powers for the birds and the quality of your catapult. And that adds to the competition. The game does the job of matching up almost similarly placed contestants, even their whacky names.

The main draw to the Arena? The leagues. You start at the lower most league, and you keep battling other players to gain stars. And the top three players, each week, with the most stars, get promoted one league up. Oh! The thrill of tallying up the stars at the end of the week and moving up a league.

And then the battle continues.

Very soon I stopped playing the regular Angry Birds and concentrated only on the Arena. After all, it was the same pigs and the same birds and the same points. Except, there was an opponent. There was a promotion. There was a winner and a loser.

That’s the Indian Education system working my system, if you think about it. Even a mere game is not satisfactory until I play it ‘against’ another and prove to be the better. The other player might actually be just a bot, but the illusion of beating a real person gives me the kick. Infact, the game becomes interesting the minute I have to pay a price to get in. Free for all wouldn’t ensure quality, would it? A game where I randomly move from one stage of learning to another doesn’t please me. I need a validation and a promotion. And the promotion is to a league that’s promised to be better than the current.

This competition makes me worry more about the performance than the experience. An Arena match that I lose is a huge hit on my ego. How could Izzy Starhopper be better than Blast Fearsome now! I work to gain tickets to play another match. I go drink some water to cool my nerves before I play again. I might just say a teeny weeny prayer.

The examination has somehow become more important than the learning itself.

What got me thinking about the gaps in the Indian Education system today is a note I received from my class teacher. 66% of the class was absent today for various reasons. If it continued, there would be disciplinary actions taken, she warned me. All this, while she was absent yesterday and we waited for her class for a whole hour.

Is attendance another ineffective metric that we use to gauge learning? Isn’t true learning what we get outside the four walls of the classroom.

Like, in the garden, maybe?

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