3 December 2020 08:53 AM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 14 AUGUST, 2020

Stop Chasing Marks… Chase Dreams!

Ease the pressure


We never learn… Every year, parents victoriously plaster their children’s marks all over social media as if board results are a milestone achievement. Let me burst your happy bubble. Marks are not the be all and end all of everything. Why is there only importance given to the 90% and above…what about the rest…even those that ‘failed’ in their exams (not life)?

Parents and our education system are to blame equally for creating such a downright disproportional atmosphere surrounding studies and exams. Our marks-based evaluation is failing India’s education system as creativity and innovation are taking a back-seat. Most of the schools and higher education institutions are in a race to ensure top scores and not on producing all-round individuals.

It is tragic to see parents lamenting their children’s poor grades as they haven’t got full marks in certain subject and children really upset over losing a few grades here and there. What have we come to? And those children who have scored below 80% treated as social outcasts?? Seriously! There is no mention of the child who did his best…who tried but could only achieve so much.

Today, this is exactly how the education system is affecting the students in India. We have been conditioned to compete at every level. The idea that one has to fight for what one desires against whatever odds there may be, the idea of ‘us versus them’ has a deep seated place in our psyche. While being competitive is a good thing, it’s easy to overdose.

Parents who failed to meet their goals in their younger days want to fill that void through their child and if they see that their children are shattering their expectations, they put a lot of pressure on them. Teachers often reward only the academic stars and any form of creativity is discouraged while risk taking is mocked. Promoting cut-throat competition and making students feel incompetent has to end.

The pressure of being the best, the brightest and the smartest increases the stress. There has been a substantial increase in the number of suicides and cardiac patients due to the pressure of always winning.

This is a very troubling drawback of our poorly structured education system. It is a system that promotes peer to peer competition, rather than team work and one that accepts that the need of the one outweighs the need of the many. Institutions are busy injecting the syllabus and nothing else. It’s high time we make the process less harsh and encourage cultural understanding, civic sense and kindness.

We need to pick this apart from its very roots, as the heart of the problem lies in the very philosophy behind the flimsy structure of our education system.

This might sound like a utopian proposition but the Indian education system badly needs to bring about this change. We need to have respect for all streams. Our system is based on a model that provides a single ground for testing each student’s intelligence.

Aren’t schools supposed to teach us about the real world? The fact that most schools don’t encourage extracurricular activities and only focus on academics, puts a lot of pressure on the student and it doesn’t balance things out. But more than the education system we need parents to open their eyes and broaden their minds.

We need to reward creativity, original thinking, research and innovation. Our education system rarely rewards what deserves highest academic accolades. Nonconformity is discouraged. Risk taking is mocked. Our testing and marking systems need an urgent revamping!

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