Yet another time, I read a news about a school boy who committed suicide following his failure in SSLC examinations. News of this sort, really pains my heart; as all the children are very close to my heart. I can empathize the mental agony that the parents experience, when their dear one is lost in a grueling manner. But I cannot help say that the parents are, in a way, responsible for this.
In our society, parents are so open-minded while bringing up their children. They let their children be more social and also involve in extra-curricular activities. But when it comes to studies, they turn highly religious. Children grow in an environment, where studying the school lessons well is a norm and topping the class is the goal. Class/school toppers are so much idolized in our society, that the average performers are emotionally demotivated. It is very common to hear statements like ‘Look at Hari. He gets first rank at school. Why are you so dull in studies? Take his help, study well and try to get good ranks’. This seeds an idea in the young mind, that the top rank holders are the leaders and those who are not, are the inferiors. This is highly detrimental to the young mind which is just developing.
Education is a means to sharpen and improve your mind. Right from our entry into the world, our learning process starts. We learn how to walk, how to speak, how to run and so on. So education is a means to enhance our knowledge and sharpen our minds. But examinations at almost all levels in the Indian educational system, test only for the bookish knowledge. The more you can remember the correct answer and reproduce, the more marks you get. How in the universe does this help in identifying the best from the good?
Change in the Indian education system is mandatory. But I think it will be ages before it happen. But at least what can happen now, is a change in the mindset of parents and the teachers. They must stop idolizing students in terms of their academic performance. I do not wish to take away any credit from the toppers. But I just want to reinstate that, this should in no way disappoint or hinder the development of average academic performer. I firmly believe that every child has a talent; sometimes hidden. So the role of parents or teachers must be to identify this hidden talent and showcase it to the world. It is their responsibility to make their children understand that the academic performance is important but in no way it affects their success in the future. Encourage them to get better marks in school exams, but do not judge or rank them based on the results. A conscious initiative from every parent and teacher will go a long way in minimizing the suicides of this kind.
So the mantra is, “Every child is equal. Stop ranking the children based on their academic performance. “. Tell them consistently, “Put in your best effort to learn the stuff and get good marks in the exams. In case you are unable to get the top ranks, do not worry. Examinations are not always the means to judge how well you have learned the stuff. After all, there is always a next time”.