India is well known for its festival season but have you all heard of ‘result seasons’ in India?
Well, it has arrived again with all the list of toppers in different competitive exams. Their success stories get published on the front pages of our national dailies. Isn’t that inspiring? Most of us will find a sense of familiarity with it as that is how our culture of education has celebrated its success.
Success has been defined based on our instant performances and not seen as a process of a lifetime. This has resulted in a gradual collapse of the philosophical values in the education sector. However, I see this phase as an upsetting journey for those who could not make it to the top.
And this is because I have never been an eye-catcher like the toppers. There is no harm in celebrating success publicly; obviously, one should do. But that success has a dark side to itself, where others face constant judgements. The pressure to make it to the top sometimes exceeds a child’s mind that they give up life immediately after the results are out. Thus, the celebration in this case comes with a cost. And, what does that cost? A human life!
Ahem, one might say.
But the waves of success are so complex that it drowns those who could not do well in exams. The death of Ansh (17) on August 4, 2020, in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, after the CBSE 10th board results, raises many questions. What is the reason behind such a drastic step? If we retrieve such cases, the death tolls will bring discomfort. The sight of suicide among teenagers in the last decade raises significant questions about our education system. Is it the child’s mistake, or does it insinuate a more substantial problem in itself?
I do not put the onus of blame on the toppers but on the social stigma attached to those who come last.
This mentality starts from a pretty young age, and it is a matter of time that a student is taught that learning is a process and not an institution to fetch marks. The obsession with 10th and 12th marks makes the education system kill a child’s instinct of curiosity. The standard of assessments becomes the scoreboard and not the capacity or ability of a child. The child soon lands up in the scoreboard race by joining coaching classes that promise a flashy future. The eager mind soon becomes a rote machine due to the neglect of parents and teachers from early childhood.
The death of Khushboo in 2018, hours after the 10th Board results, left her parents puzzled; they kept asking where they went wrong? Her father, Dayaram shared, “If children are taking lives in the name of papers (exams), then there should be no exams.”
But is that a solution to the problem?
The answer is subjective and can have no straightforward answer as the crisis in our education system cannot be solved in a day. Instead, modifying our educational institutions can be one step towards it. Nurturing a child from an early stage on tackling the peer pressure to compete can bring some positive development. Engaging in simple conversations, physical activities, focussing on positives, support from elders, and a healthy diet can help a child in stress management.
So next time, if you and your friends could not make it to the list of toppers, do not put the blame on yourself or them. Make them understand that happiness does not just come from being at the top. It comes at merely passing the exam as well; after all, education is meant to facilitate learning habits. Inspire them to look beyond the tabulation of numbers as a piece of paper is not more potent than what awaits them in the future. Reducing one’s life to the marks one scores is a problem of our society.
As APJ Abdul Kalam once said, “All of us do not have equal talent. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”