Volume 12, Number 25
18 April 2006

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This Week

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Have "A" Reason to Live!

Our education system is often considered very inadequate. From primary school through high school, I was one of those who complained about the system all the time. To prepare for the university entrance exam, we had to review the same information over and over again. If the education system were so perfect that we could remember all this information, the Turkish people would be the most respected and civilized people on earth.

On television, we see reporters asking models questions like, What was the date of Atatürk's death? What is celebrated on April 23? When was the Turkish Republic founded? All of them give incorrect answers, and we make fun of them, of how stupid they are. But believe it or not, what we learned during our school years is very likely to disappear from our minds. Don't just ask models when the Turkish government was
founded--ask people at random. I'm sure most of them would be confused about the answer!

When I was watching the news about the solar eclipse, I saw that it's not only models who don't remember basic primary school-level knowledge. I really had fun following this story. I don't mean seeing people clapping their hands when the sky was getting dark (although that was funny, too)--what I really found amusing was a member of parliament and his speech about the eclipse. When a reporter asked him how a solar eclipse happens, the MP said that to answer that question, "we need to do astronomical research." Come on, it's only the moon coming between the sun and the earth! Isn't this something we're supposed to learn in primary school, and then review in secondary and high school? An MP who doesn't know how a solar eclipse occurs! "We choose, we lose!"

But although I complain about the deficiencies of our memorization-based education system, others might find our system would suit their way of learning. I read in the newspaper that an American student memorized the 83,784 digits of pi after the decimal point.

What can we say about this person? Are students in America emulating our system? Or is the American education system so easy that students have enough free time to spend memorizing something infinite?

This student is only 15--there must be other stuff he could do! But it seems this wasn't enough for him. His next goal is to memorize the next 10,790 digits. I would describe him as crazy, but he's not alone. There's also a Japanese psychiatrist--maybe he doesn't have any patients--who has decided to memorize something infinite.

I would like to ask these people, don't you have anything better to do? And I would like to say to them, don't have just A reason to live--have a GOOD reason to live!


Gülay Acar (COMD/III)

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