Monday, May 5, 2008

The Mad Annual Ritual

Every year the months of March and April witness the great Indian phenomenon called Annual Examinations.

Infact, it will not be out of place to call it the Mad Annual Ritual. Millions of school and junior college students participate in this ritual with a prayer on their lips. I guess many of them would be praying only at exam times.

The whole scene borders on the bizzare with students cramming tons of information only to spill it out in those "eventful three hours" and then to forget it all as quickly. In this whole process one gets to see a whole range of activities, emotions, feelings tightly packed together.

The situation attains immense gravity with parents declaring their expectations. No prizes for guessing, every parent wants their child to excel and top the class. Noble intention but that is the root cause of all problems that tend to follow.

Stress levels skyrocket and often one’s self-esteem is measured by the success one will achieve at the examinations. This is a very heavy burden for any person to carry, leave alone a young student. More often than not there is bliss in surrendering and accepting a lower slot. Many succumb and resort to extreme steps.

When I see the annual ritual being so fanatically played out year after year, I wonder whether we are missing something in life. One has played out this ridiculous game for ten long years in school and in the end has learnt nothing. We have mass-produced literates but probably left them empty and ill prepared to face life.

I believe in academic rigour and the need for good education. I also have nothing against anyone wanting to excel but I think it is high time we do not get obsessed with marks and ranks.

Highest marks do not necessarily mean success (in the conventional sense) in later years. On the contrary one could be dysfunctional in many areas.

We as parents who have seen more of life need to take a practical view. Let us not try to drive our children to despair with our obsessions and queer their natural development. My wife and I on our part have played it cool with our daughters and helped them with their studies whenever they needed it. We have tried to emphasize on all round development and ingrain in them that they must enjoy whatever they do. The next thing was to keep conveying that we value them as human beings rather than the marks that they get.

I see this approach paying off in the long term and they blossoming into emotionally well-balanced human beings. They will carry with them sweet memories of their school and college days and have the satisfaction of having done well at academics also.

It is entirely incidental that both my daughters have consistently excelled at their studies.

1 comment:

Gopinath's Blog said...

Hi, its good you have begun blogging... its the write thing to do!. Education is only the first rat race where one wants to be "Ek Kadam Aage". Then its money, status, power, position... the list goes on. It has been aptly put (someplace, I read) that "Never enter a rat race..because even if you win, you are still a rat!" Continue to speak your mind through your blogs!