By Mitali Bhasin:
So it’s that time of the year again. Relatives and neighbours obsessively asking, “Beta, result kaisa raha?” because well, over the generations, we have hyped this modest examination to such a great degree that it has been stamped a benchmark of every Indian teenager’s life. No, I’m not against education, but surely the CBSE Board Exams are beyond overrated. Here are five myths, about the most glorified exam of Indian academics that need busting:
Myth #1: These exams are a deciding factor of your life.
Really? So how do we justify Bill Gates, who created Microsoft, without even finishing school? Or the billions out there who fared well in the exams, but are still living aimless lives? If one exam was meant to fashion your destiny, we’d all be CEOs/Ministers/Nobel Laureates/Inventors with effortless ease.
Myth #2: Anything less than 90% isn’t good.
Why have we mercilessly quantified the sanctity of knowledge into grades and marks? If after 13 years of education, all a student can do is pour rote knowledge into blank paper, then we have miserably failed as a society. Concepts learnt at school are forgotten because their application in the real world wasn’t strictly taught. Despite English being the main subject throughout schooling, we are significantly the most grammatically incorrect folk.
Myth #3: Work hard this one time; your life is set then.
Nope. It’s not. Anything great in life shall demand dedication and hard work, be it higher education, a successful career, a steady relationship or even a minor goal like losing weight. If you’re fed on the idea that one-time perseverance is all it takes to make it in life, time to pop that bubble. Life was never meant to be that simple.
Myth #4: Studies first, friends later.
Academics, career, your own self, definitely top the charts of priority, but at the cost of ending up as a loner? Definitely not. Why are we so bent on discouraging the once piece of solace every human deserves-a friend? There shall always be a reason to ignore giving importance to your buddies-starting with school exams, to college exams, to post-grad exams, to jobs, to marriage, to kids…the list goes on. Social skills need encouragement, and shouldn’t be victimised in the name of study. If you aced an academic exam but died without having friends to have the last laugh with, you failed the sport called life.
Myth #5: No one wants to marry someone with poor grades.
Even if we go by the typical Indian standards of the “perfect” girl (fair, doe-eyed virgin) or the “perfect” boy (tall NRI with a 6-figure paycheque), a 90% result in these exams doesn’t guarantee she/he will be that “perfect” spouse. Marriage web-portals need a serious reality check before asking 10th and 12th marks (as mandatory fields) in the profile.
P.S. No, this isn’t an attempt at sending a spiteful uproar amid parents or teachers. But out of personal experience, I was slapped a C- grade in English in 10th grade. My 12th grade English teacher told me, “Language isn’t your forte dear. Try not to consider a career in writing.” And I managed to author my first novel when I was 18 (Book name: I’m in Camp…Get Me Out of Here!) and got published. It wasn’t a must-read or a flying-off-the-shelves bestseller, but it sure wasn’t the work of someone linguistically challenged, as proclaimed by the education system. There’s more to life than exams, let’s try not to forget that.
To hear more from Mitali, follow her on Twitter.