Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Unbearable Burden of Being a Class XII Student in India

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If you are a parent of a teen who has just appeared for her board exams, you will know exactly what it feels like when the results are about to be declared. It’s like waiting for your own results. Only this time, you are not a carefree teen but a worry-wart adult plagued by ifs and buts and what will the world and its aunt think if your child scores an abysmal 85%. Even Mrs Chatterjee’s useless son scored a 97%! Oh, the triumphant look in her eyes when she distributed sweets in the neighbourhood. Too bad she got the mithai from a third rate halwai.

The thing is, we all seem to think scoring in 90’s is a breeze, till it’s your own teen’s turn to appear for her boards. It’s then you find out how much pressure we put on our kids by making abnormally high scores the new normal. Fact is only those who score high share it on social media. The rest keep mum. Consider this. Out of a total of 1,067,900 candidates registered for this year for class 12 exam, 89,000 students scored more than 90% in aggregate. Which means only 8% managed to breach the 90’s barrier. 

So, where does it leave the remaining 92%? Why don’t we talk about them? Why don’t newspapers follow their life journeys and come out with reassuring stories that scoring ‘low’ was not the end of their life? I wish more and more parents would tell their children that marks secured in exams do not define them. A child who obtains 78% may have a better grasp of a select few subjects and the ones who score a 99% may simply be able to memorise better. Many school teachers have mastered training their students in the art of answering correctly. Plus, the structure of the question papers is such that some students can work around the format and get high scores. Your exam score is certainly not the only indicator of your intelligence or the lack of it.

They will tell you high scores let you pick and choose the subject and college of your choice. Sadly this is not always true. When anyone who does reasonably well in exams opts for a handful of courses in a handful of premier colleges, there’s a mad scramble for their limited seats and not everyone manages to get in.  It’s quite likely that after battling stress and anxiety and studying for 12 hours a day for months, you secure 95% and will still not get into the college of your choice.

It’s not your fault. You did your best. But so did 7,000 odd students who scored above 95%.

A Fever Called Exams

I woke up with a smile this morning, gently slapped away the mosquito singing the morning raga in my ears.  As I stretched out like a cat or so I thought I managed to topple a few jars on my bedside table.  I didn’t fret and no I didn’t frown either.  There was a spring in my step, a silly grin pasted on my face as I tottered to the kitchen.  Today is special, Tee finishes her exams.

For days I have been bubbling with excitement.  Even before my daughter’s exams could finish, I went out with my girlie gang to raise a toast to liberation which was just around the corner.  The bistro was brimming with women, the mall jam packed with even more women – all of them wide eyed, excited, celebrating their reunion with freedom with gusto.

When your progeny sits for the exams, it’s the Mum who breaks into a sweat.  Tee doesn’t get too bothered about such trivialities; she outsources all her worries to her Mum.  True, she has to bear with me in my truly annoying avatar.  It’s 10 in the morning, are you still in bed!!  (Insert eyes popping out, horrified expression)  Do you really have to watch Castle.....can’t you miss a single episode of Las Vegas!!   Gosh are you sleeping again!  When will you study? (My voice pitch is touching the 10th floor now)....It’s two in the morning when will you sleep!  (A mix between desperation and air of resignation)

I hate how the exam fever dents my chilled out Mom image! But what to do, my Tee makes up for all the sleep she lost in the year, during her exams.  And whenever she finds time between sleeping and entertaining herself, she deigns to pick up her books and studies.

Secretly I do not blame her. One look at her books and you know that it is enough to put even a confirmed insomniac to sleep.  The language is stuffy and unimaginative.  Imagine describing the big bang theory as a small dot that exploded!  If Stephen Hawking reads it, he will be banging his head in frustration.  NCERT books have this magical quality of making even the most interesting subject sound mundane.


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