An article by Shilpa Nadkarni
With the increasing pressure as early as from the age of 6 – that is from the first graders till the student achieves her or his degree/ higher qualification/ specialization, etc it makes me think – who are doing well into today’s market the toppers or the dropouts or if not dropouts then the first benchers or last benchers?
It is often said that the teacher only remembers the first benchers and the last benchers. Where do the middle benchers go? Where do the average students end up? Today, how many of us can recall the names of merit holders from our batch and know if they are successful or not? Again, how do we measure the success, that’s a different story all together and pretty relative, we can get there some other day.
However, all I can see these days is a rat race between different schools to get best ranking in the city, district, state, country and so on. To prove that our school is the best, schools want their children to do exceptionally well in academics, sports, international olympiads, foreign languages, dance, music, yoga, various competitive exams to name a few. Later, the schools happily use these toppers as the school’s brand ambassadors to make the school more and more popular. More precisely, no one is supposed to score less than 90% when it comes to academics, which means a minimum batch of any given grade which counts between 1400-1500 students approximately have to fit in a bracket of 90% to 100% and if few students miss the bracket they are no less than criminals standing in front of the High Court Judge. I would rather say that a criminal might have to face one High Court Judge at a time, but these tiny tots get judged on several platforms starting from grade teacher, fellow classmates, parents, relatives, friends around and many more.
With the increasing competition and to brace up with the status symbols and to earn more number of money bags (our children), the syllabus which was taught for 7th and 8th graders a couple of years back is now taught to 3rd and 4th graders. If this fast pace trend continues in the similar fashion, I won’t be surprised, if a couple of years down the line, schools start teaching the same syllabus with additional burden to 1st and 2nd graders too. The day is not far, when parents will be expected to enroll their kid for pre-IIT/ GMAT classes when kid is in primary section itself. Where are we leading to? Do we have anyone who can regulate and stabilize the burden that is been given on these tiny tots? We talk about the school bag weight these small kids have to carry, but why don’t we talk about the heaviness and pressure on the minds and brains of these kids that they have to undergo on daily basis?
Times have changed, now every vacation (Summer, Diwali, Winter) is followed by exams. Students are expected to study and do projects during these vacations. Though, most of the projects are done by poor mommies, kids are also equally tied up with the lengthy portion to study. We probably, were the last lucky lot who enjoyed all the vacations during the year only for playing and enjoyment, when vacations meant enjoyment and a break from school and studies. It used to be a time to connect with our culture and spend time with our family and near & dear ones. Vacation meant free time to learn other life skills and values which are not taught in any institutions.
On one hand, we discuss the suicide cases of teenagers and feel sorry about it. We discuss such cases for a while and then get going back to the same routine, saying nowadays children are not capable of handling the stress. But have we ever thought, Why our kids are not capable of handling the stress? Have we prepared our kids to listen to a big ‘NO’ for any of their demands? Have we taught our kids that falling is the first step towards learning? HAVE WE PREPARED OUR KIDS TO FACE THE FAILURES? Unfortunately NO. Infact, we bribe our kids by offering them something or the other of their choice if they get certain grade, certain trophy or a medal and there is no end to it…
CAN WE CHANGE our so-called modern parenting styles and stop bribing our own kids? Can we prepare our kids to face the real challenges in life?