Monday, 17 March 2008

Exam Pressures

I am reacting more or less entirely to this (and this) article, which of course, is front page TOI. Suicides. Exam pressures. Failing in English. Suicide notes threatening that they will come back as ghosts to harass their teachers.

So, with abandon the article lays blame at the feet of examinations in India. Be it X, XII, SSC, BSc, BCom, or the dreaded entrance exams. Fine, we have a completely fucked up educational system. Our schools suck. Our teachers are idiots. The powers-that-be have constructed competitive exams with the one aim of felling youngsters in their prime. Fine. But if I was a seventeen year old today taking my XII and preparing (perhaps not too well) for an entrance exam, what would really prompt me to attempt to take my life? Lets see. Parents are pressurising me so much that if I don't do well, something is going to give at home. They think I am going to be a 90+ percenter. I hated the stream I was in, but its not in our culture to talk about such things. I barely studied all year, because I hated it so thoroughly. Now the situation has become desperate, looks like I am going to fail ...

I am not arguing that I know what goes on in a person's mind when they decide to take that ultimate step. I have very little idea about it, in real fact. I am not arguing that teachers are blameless. I am not saying our educational system is perfect. I am just saying that parents, as a breed, are becoming increasingly blind about their children's capabilities, desires, and needs, and therefore some responsibility for these extreme steps lies with them as well. And, for us, younger parents, I do think its a wake-up call. Its going to be tough to change the educational system in the next decade or so (which is not to say we should not try to fix things). I do think we have to work the other way instead. Life is extremely stressful. We are fighting pollution, crowds, the nano car, politics, paan-spitting, increasing carbon footprints, bad teachers. Our children are fighting these with us. They are looking up to us to help them through this. They are looking to us to give them the strength to fight these when they are older. The last thing they need from us is an absolute insistence that they get a 'centum in math' or else...

5 comments:

choxbox said...

aaah. there is SO much i can say.

hang on a sec though. is this phenomenon new? remember the kid is saras who had electrocuted himself?

kbpm said...

its not new, whats new is that its now a lot more common (at least thats what the newspapers claim) at all levels. i see no particular reason to disbelieve them based on personal experience of recent times....

Airspy said...

The pressure to get into the 'right' school at 2.5 years that befits the social 'status' and the ambitions of the parents - what could we say of that. Last week a cute baby, all of at 2.75 years told me sadly that her sisters 'good' school 'namge seat kodalla'. What a sense of failure to pump into a kid.

kbpm said...

oh thats just horrid airspy. poor kid! what a path to be on...

Ludwig said...

it's a combination of the pressure being more intense nowadays and more reporting/news channels/focus on this sort of thing, no?

that the pressure is more is just anecdotally obvious, no? all the nieces and nephews and sundry such types seem to be just whacking themselves out. not that they aren't having any fun, but it's got a very different, grimy quality to it now.

> remember the kid is saras
> who had electrocuted

shiite. this brought back a whole lotta ghosts of very mixed memories out of the hostel closet in the head...

and airspy's anecdote is just heartbreaking.