In Poland we have something that I guarantee most North Americans have no idea about. In fact they might even find it kind of funny and sort of "old school." (Because it is). It's called an indeks.
An indeks is basically a little green book that has all of our information and all of our scores from every class we've ever taken. Pretty normal right? Well no, not really.
Once we complete a class the indeks has to be taken to the head of the department and signed and (more importantly) stamped in order for us to get credit. Nothing in Poland happens without a stamp.
Most departments take three or four days to sign an indeks, some like to hold them hostage for weeks. I've been in offices that have piles of the things waiting to be signed. But, you have to wait as long as it takes, because unless the indeks is signed and submitted to the deans office at the end of the year, technically you have not completed the course. Never mind the fact that the department sends all of the course results directly to the deans office via this new fangled thing called a computer. So the school has all of our results within days after the course is completed.
But, like I said no indeks, no credit.
|http://ed.mug.edu.pl/4434.html the only place I could find a good photo.|
And heaven forbid you or a department LOOSE the indeks.
If it's lost one must hunt down every professor for every class ever taken and get it signed AGAIN. It doesn't matter how long has elapsed between loosing it and it getting signed, the indeks must have ALL of the classes in it; even if the dean has seen it signed and reported it as being signed for previous academic years.
So say for example you loose your indeks in your final year. You must find ALL of the teachers from your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years and get them to sign it otherwise you will not be permitted to graduate. That's right, despite the fact that the school has all of your results, if you don't have it in the indeks you will not get a diploma.
What's even better is that there is also a single standard sized piece of loose leaf paper which must also be signed and stamped with the indeks and then submitted with it at the end of the year. The piece of paper is placed in the indeks and one hopes that it does not fall out or is not lost in the process of signing- as the same rules apply to the piece of paper as to the indeks. The only exception being that the piece of paper is only for one academic year and it's replaced before starting in the fall.
And you know how in North America they have those fancy white coat ceremonies to mark the beginning of med school. Do you know what type of ceremony we have?
An indeks giving ceremony.
So there you have it. Our report card system. The indeks!
If mine makes it through this final year without being lost or misplaced I haven't decided if I'm going to frame it or burn it- right after I submit it to the graduation overlords to get my diploma.
(I should probably add that despite the tone of this post, it's actually a really interesting system. It's just so different from what I'm used to. The US also has loads of traditions that might seem odd to outsiders.)