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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

The heartbreak and happiness of results day at school

The summer season is also a season of exam results, bringing challenges for students, teachers and parents

Exam results produce a complex set of emotions among students, parents and teachers. Victor Besa for The National
Exam results produce a complex set of emotions among students, parents and teachers. Victor Besa for The National

It is easy to forget quite how dynamic our education system is. Schools across the emirates offer a wide range of curricula, taught in several languages, catering to a broad community of students. Some pupils woke up on Sunday morning to find out how they had performed in International Baccalaureate exams. Inevitably, our report focused on the success stories, like Sara Dube, a pupil at Jumeirah English Speaking School, who achieved a perfect score in her IB tests.

Exam results produce a complex set of emotions among students, parents and teachers. For some, Sunday brought great joy, for others it was a day of disappointment. Similar feelings will be repeated later in the summer when those who have studied in other curricula find out how they fared.

While it is not for this newspaper to declare one curriculum better than another, IB does appear to push close to producing rounded individuals at the end of their school days. Some other curriculums more narrowly focus on fewer disciplines as students move through their school years.

Whatever the merits of one over another, we can at least empathise with students and parents who have to survive the torture of results day. The teenage years are when parents often have to step back and hope that the decisions they have taken for their children over their education and upbringing were the right ones. Exam results ­– good, bad or indifferent – are perhaps the greatest indicator of whether those choices were the right ones, but they are also just a small part of a school or education system's function. Ultimately, we want well-rounded and worldly students leaving our schools, armed with the soft skills that make young people employable and useful in the real world. Indeed, these skills are as important as high marks and good grades.