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Academically gifted students have just as much right to individual recognition

  • 2b-Letter7
Those schools which didn’t publish the number of distinctions lost an opportunity to recognise and congratulate students who achieved exceptional matric results. Students who are gifted academically have just as much right to be recognised as those who are gifted on the sporting field or in any other way. So what next? Are we going to stop recognising students who achieve on the sporting field? Are we going to stop recognising other forms of achievement?
by Tony Kamionsky, Johannesburg | Jan 23, 2020

Sure, being strong academically doesn’t make someone a better person – we are all unique and special in our own way. However this doesn’t mean that those who have achieved academically shouldn’t be recognised for their achievements. And it doesn’t mean that these students are boasting. And, if such recognition makes a student who hasn’t performed as well feel bad, then the solution isn’t to stop the recognition, and the solution isn’t to tell the student who has underperformed academically that they deserve equal recognition as they have put in just as much effort.

Rather, teach such students that they should be happy for those who have achieved good results, and that it doesn’t mean that they are inferior. Further, explain to such students that they shouldn’t compare themselves to anyone else, that they are special in their own way, and that they should focus on their own strengths and go out and be the best person they can be regardless of whether someone else has done better academically, or better on the sporting field.

Further, it was stated that some schools wanted to recognise the team rather than the individuals. This is a false dichotomy as it doesn’t have to be one or the other. We can recognise the success of the team giving credit to every individual’s contribution towards the team, and at the same time, we can acknowledge the standout performers within the team.

Sure, if any student doesn’t want their picture or results in the newspaper, then they should be allowed to request that they be excluded, and we should honour that request.

And yes, every student who completes matric is an achiever, and most would have excelled in some form or another during their schooling career. That should most certainly be recognised. However, the publishing of academic results isn’t the time and place for that. 

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