Is Dissuading Students Towards A Career Based On Past Academic Performance Right?

Posted on February 3, 2011 in Education

By Anurag Butoliya:

The educational institutions of any country are the temples of learning . It is the responsibility of any educational institution to shape and direct the youth of the country and thus make them productive for nation’s economy. An extension to the basic responsibility of educational institutions could be that if they have been entrusted to shape the future , they also have the responsibility of dissuading students to undertake the fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed. Certainly any child or even a young individual spends a considerable section of his/her student life at campuses both at school and university, in this way the schools and colleges become like a “second home” to any child.

There can be a debate whether educational institutions should use a students’ past experience with a particular student as a predictor of the future course of action , whether he or she should be allowed to undertake a particular study or not. As an action it is not a hundred percent successful formula to use the past experience to judge the future.

There have been countless examples in history which enunciate this fact. Thomas Alva Edison was regarded as a stupid student by his teachers and the teachers advised him to take up subjects in which he would succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality , but Edison succeeded in an area which requires scientific temper not pleasant personality.

One must understand that a teacher’s view about a particular student is just an opinion, which may differ from others. Also it is up to the student to decide whether he/she accepts a particular opinion about himself or herself. The basic duty of any educational institution is to create an atmosphere of learning and to instill a sense in students that they are a people of infinite potential. Such mere ‘tagging’ of students as one lot would succeed only in mathematics and other in the area of liberal sciences would never create an atmosphere of collaborative learning in the students. This would certainly prove to be counter productive for multi talented students who may be good at variety of subjects.

One should always keep in mind that every student is different and has different capabilities . There are students who are able to learn quickly and at the same time others take time. Some students may be able to do complex calculations very quickly while others may take hours, but both are reaching at correct answers. Taking such parameters , by educationalists as a parameter to judge students’ potential is flawed and dissuading students based on such parameters would be blasphemy.

The psychological aspects of such dissuasion are even more dangerous. Consider dividing students based on the fields in which they are unlikely to succeed. It is just a modern form of racism and creating classes amongst student. It would be just regression to the previous era , the only difference earlier the parameter used to be the descend , now the parameter is “educational success rate”.

People would argue that the psychological tests would be a more scientific approach towards finding in which area a particular student would succeed , but the psychological tests can only give a broad picture. It can only tell one that the student may be good at sciences , but can never tell whether he/she would be good at electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Moreover, the psychological tests are not error free. There is always a margin of error in the testing. Thus if an educational institute uses such a scientific approach too for a student’s future they may not reach a valid conclusion. Thus, basing the decision of dissuading student for taking up a particular course on such tests would too would be an incorrect decision.

Whether a student will succeed at a particular course of study or not , it only depends on the student. It is highly recommended that a student must be free from any outside influence be it educational institutions and even parents , which he/she decides to take up a particular subject . The educational institution should play a more constructive role in a student’s decision by appreciating his/her decision and guiding him forward . The educational institution should always try not to act as dictators , and influence such decisions, justifying it by their experience as past experience with one particular student cannot be used as a general truth for every future decision.