martes, 18 de septiembre de 2012

Causes of failure (III)

The causes of failure of electrical engineering students at the University of El Salvador has many explanations. In my first post, I exposed freshman result in mathematics. In the second post, I presented some results in the very first course of circuits analysis.

Today I started my morning with a shocking experience. This incident would help me out to explain another cause  of failure. A confused father came to our department. He demanded explanations. His son had told him several stories. The father told us that his son's undergraduate's thesis had been rejected. The way the story was run pointed at me as the culprit. I asked to the stricken father about who his son was. He described him. He gave some data that made me to recall who was this student.

I have seen this young guy to roam our department for the last four years. He was my student a couple of times. Whenever I could, I talked to him. I explained to him the need to stay focus. But he never came to class. He never passed my course. Every time I saw him, I smiled to him and he smiled me back. But inside me I always wonder about this kid's fathers.

For more than ten years, this bereaved father has been supporting his son. He has paid room and board. He told us, he never forced his son to study engineering. He decided by his own. They never put pressure on him. But after more than ten years they wanted to see results. Besides the student was putting all the blame on his professors.

I told the father that his son had cheated on him. He was writing no thesis. Actually he had not approved some mandatory courses. In ten years he had only earned seventy percent of the credits.

In a way this extreme case made me wonder about what is to be a student. Some of our students reduce the credit number they should be taking. Others take as a fact they have to fail. Courses will get approved only in the second or third chance.

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