With Board results being declared this month… And here I speak of many ‘Board Exams’ and not just one… My empathy lies with the student fraternity. It is as close to hell out there for them…a horror story unfolding before their very eyes dealing and coping with their results, then the entrance tests, admission processes, cut-offs, interviews, short-lists and more lists and what not.

Then they have to deal with what their family thinks of their results… Parental pressure, family pressure, societal pressure, peer pressure and ‘what the relatives and neighbours think syndrome’ and also ‘inquisitive be thy name’ kind of people around… It is absolutely ludicrous. I am so disappointed in parent's reactions to their children getting below 80's and 90's in the Boards... Excuse me for my language… But that really is a load of bull! The pressure on these kids and the expectations... Why don't people realise that these marks don't matter in the real world. What matters is your personality...your talents...your character and honing in to your strengths. Each child is different and will make his/her mark wherever they have to. One has to recognize your child’s abilities and strengths and encourage them to excel in that. Taunts, disappointed expressions, mocking, jeering and endless needling and badgering is extremely detrimental to a child’s psyche. That really is so unfair to them.
Educational institutions are unable to cope with the student population. We are groping in the dark to accommodate children in need of a sound education system. Thousands vying for one seat. If you land up at any venue that has admission tests and interviews on, what you see there is not only chaotic but scary. Children totally stressed out and anxious… Parents in a state of frenzy… Nothing short of bedlam and mayhem! We do not have enough schools/colleges/institutes to fit in our vast student masses. And then on top of that we have our pre-historic quota system to deal with as if the above problems weren’t enough. Domiciles play another dirty game in all this. The duel is between the minority and the majority and the general masses but not between the deserving and undeserving. Then there is the angle about being able to ‘pay’ or not pay copious amounts of money to private institutions. In my mind everyone should get a chance to study and prove his/her worth in the field of their choice and this is how it should be.
There are various curriculum bodies governing school education systems in India. Here in lies the basic fundamental problem.
So here goes… We have:
State Government Boards – Majority of Indian children are enrolled in this Board. Every state has its own Education Board which looks after the Academic Affairs of the schools coming under it.
CBSE – Central Board Of Secondary Education Board
CISCE – Council For The Indian School Certificate Examinations
NIOS – National Institute Of Open Schooling Board
It doesn’t end here… We then have:
International Schools - These are affiliated to the International Baccalaureate Programme and/or the Cambridge International Examinations.
Islamic Madrasah Schools – These Boards are controlled by Local State Governments, or Autonomous, or Affiliated with Darul Uloom Deoband.
Autonomous Schools – These include Woodstock School, Auroville, Patha Bhavan and Ananda Marga Gurukula.
In India, Education is managed both by the Union Government and the states, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others. But there is no defined system… There are no rules, no one is answerable to any form of authority unless ‘caught’ and there are no laid down guidelines and strictures to adhere. The mighty rule of law is nowhere to be seen…just heard! Rules are changed and flouted at the drop of a hat!
It is now all about numbers and not knowledge… The number game is an ugly one. With children attaining marks like 99.9% and cut-offs as close to that… It really is a pitiful scenario. On second thoughts, it is actually downright vulgar. I find it unnatural that children are attaining 95 and above in languages… All verbatim? And no understanding? What about grammar/punctuation/spellings… Do these even play a role? This is a dangerous trend where we are encouraging children to memorize rather than understand. Then of course recognizing only the ‘top’ students and ignoring the rest is absolutely unfair. The whole system is lopsided on a whole.
We are allowing children to be obsessed with ‘marks’ and ‘results’ and not about knowledge gained or lost… There displaced priorities are only about reaching a certain percentage to be recognized… Values, morals, ethics and character are not given even the remotest encouragement. When I see children who have scored 94% and no less and whining about how badly they’ve done… I know this country is doomed.
And after all this, when our students do decide to ‘fly over the cuckoo’s nest’ and head for distant, attractive and appealing shores… We shouldn’t lament about ‘brain drain’…!! It is after all our own doing.