Fourteen year old Raju looked at the ceiling fan. He started sweating and thought of cancelling his plan but that was not possible. He went ahead, threw the string around the fan and before he could change his mind, hanged himself using the same rope. Later on, it was discovered that Raju was under stress due to coming exams. He felt pressurized and didn’t know whom to talk with.
The above incident is not alone. In India, daily average twenty students use various methods for committing suicide. They all have different Modus Operandi but the same reason. Some have Stress of not getting admissions in esteemed institutions, others fear of not performing well in the exam.
Why students are taking such drastic steps? Have the authorities ever thought what is wrong? Is there any drawback in our education system which is putting pressure on students?
Students are not mentally grown-ups. Many still don’t know how to handle pressure. The students assessment is done based on their performance in few hours. In the examination hall, they have to give their best to do within the given short duration and then accept their destiny when the results come. You may be a scholar but if you fall sick during exams, no one is going to rescue you. I know a son of my friend, who gets so nervous during Mathematics paper that he literally forgets whatever he knows during the tests.
Life is uncertain and even the topper can get depressed and forget everything under the exam pressure. Is it good to leave one’s fate based on the performance in few hours?
What is Education?
Education develops the thinking of a person. It develops the thought process. Education is not about passing an exam or getting good grades. It’s also not about getting a good job after being educated. It’s an enlightening process. In schools, we are taught subjects viz Social Sciences or Poetry not as one day we will earn due to knowledge of such subjects. Social Science grows our knowledge about this world and Poetry enhances us in expressing ourselves. We start earning due to our interest or proficient understanding of a particular subject. Examination is there to assess the knowledge we gained at a particular time.
A person is referred as an Educated Person when he is humble, intellectual, knowledgeable and kind. Being educated and being financially successful is different thing and totally unrelated. However, examination has become a very important link between the two. Examination certifies a person’s knowledge at every step of learning process. It’s very easy to distinguish who is grasping the knowledge quickly and who is intellectual by way of examination. Those who excel in these exams have more chances to achieve success in life and do better in career. They are approached readily by organisations for jobs. They have been certified by examination that they are intellectual and they possess the knowledge well enough in a particular field which enable them to do requisite work swiftly.
However, as in our current education system, the biggest issue is that it has become exams oriented, instead of being education oriented. Today, nobody is interested in training students and to really measure their knowledge and understanding on the subject. Everyone is just focused on grades and marks. As a result, today’s exams are not a good criteria to assess their genuine education skill, but they have just become a measurement of one’s retention skills. As a result, students have only one goal of how to perform professionally in the examinations. Nobody pays attention to actually gaining knowledge. They are not inclined to go an extra mile and do research which may give them better understanding of the subject.
It’s a sad reality that this kind of system prepares students for materialistic success and monetary gains. The fundamental education has gone in the background and students have lost the focus of learning.
What is the use of making them remember things which they are not going to use in the future? The education system should allow them to learn the subject and understand the fundamentals. Instead, the system emphasizes on how much students mug up and write during the exams.
A very important thing to understand here is those who are not excelling in these exams are not actually dumb. Many of them are really very smart. They just don’t have the sharp memory to mug-up things. They might not act quickly and perform well in short duration of exam time. But, can perform well in real-time demand of life situations. Many of my schoolmates who used to score 40-50 % in schools are successful managers. Many who are good in mugging up the things are left behind after school, as they lack the power of analyzing.
Enhancing Our Education System?
There are two major types of learning process that is used world-wide for education.
- Rote Learning Method
- Critical Thinking Method
Rote Learning is a method of memorizing by way of repetition. Critical thinking method is to educate someone by developing their thinking. Both have its own uses in the education system. Rote learning is used in early stages of our education to learn the basic things like counting, basic mathematical operations, memorizing alphabets, names of fruits, flowers, birds, etc. Once the child is at a stage when they can analyze, think, act. Critical Thinking method is used to develop their intellectual skills.
In our education system, Rote Learning method is used even after the kid is grown-up. Like I remember in 7th standard, the one who could write each and every step of an experiment given in chemistry book or biology book used to be given full marks. I was unable to memorize well so I used to score poorly.
A balance of both the methods depending on the growth level of the kid should be applied to enhance the learning. The motto should be to impart the education rather than score more.
Schools should have regular meetings with parents to keep them updated about their child’s performances and interests. The pressure of study comes on a child by their parents. Parents wants their child’s future to be easy and secured. A simple way for this is to score high. Get certified that you are intelligent and you will be taken with both hands by companies after completing education. However, showing anger, frustration and admonishing to score high even after being in top ten in the class is quite common in our society.
Apart from this, the people who regulate the rules and make education policies should understand their responsibilities. Due to their ignorance, today our education system has become another name of rat race where learning has no chance to win! And even if the rules are changed, it’s a duty of every institution to see that they are implemented properly. Those in power should make proper changes in the policy. And the parents as well as teachers should make sure that the students do what they love to do instead of compelling them to learn what they don’t like. If the subject is beyond their capacity, they are hardly going to succeed. Letting them do things they like and letting them select their own destiny might be helpful. It might reduce the pressure from young students and reduce the suicide rate.