Day of the Results: A day to celebrate or a moment to despair?

Fierce competition and increasing societal expectations have put a tremendous pressure on students to perform in academics alone. This trend for high marks has led to a stiff rise in high anxiety levels among students today.

Photo: © Antonio Guillem / 123RF Stock Photo

The education system over the years that has led students and parents to merely focus on a singular aspect of ‘Results’ needs a paradigm shift! Result-oriented education somewhat still plagues the present day education system. What exactly are the ‘Results’? It is the by-product of a commonly-used assessment tool by educational institutions. It is a crucial factor that decides whether a student will progress to the next level of education or whether she/he will remain in the same class for another term.

For many students, ‘result day’ has become judgement day. Unrealistic self-imposed lofty goals for high marks, impractical expectations and undue pressurising by parents, peer competition, misplaced ambitions to outperform others are some of the aspects that mount undue nervousness and over-burdening the children. Parents need to understand that children are more important than the marks you want them to score in examination. Remember, failure in exam is not the end of the world!

In this age of technological advancement and rapid globalization, students increasingly find themselves utterly puzzled in choosing a career path that would be the most suited to live up to parental, peer and societal expectations. Unfortunately, even today, parents resort to expecting their children to get very high marks and be part of the rat race. The consequence of this race for marks creates an environment of intense stress among students and drastically affects their mental health. By and large, parents and society have adopted an attitude that exalts “winners” and shuns failures. Less marks and failure is often considered as ultimate defeat, and children are tagged on the basis of their marks alone.

Today, parents who juggle with their family, finances and job responsibilities, find no time for their children and totally depend on coaching classes, and adopt a mindset that gives importance to marks alone. The child becomes an easy target. The tremendous pressure is due to the mind numbing competition and success denoted by the achievement of high scores in the present education scenario. Often, parents and students find themselves in the grip of intense anxiety, just before the declaration of the results. Studies have highlighted how so many children are ending up with several anxiety disorders such as insomnia, lack of concentration and depression. It is sad that low marks and failure is considered as a stigma in the society and often negatively affects the self-esteem of the child.

Today, it is encouraging to see that understanding the dire need for a holistic development, educationists are working on bringing significant changes in the system. It is important that we teach our students various planning skills, such as daily, weekly and monthly goal setting as this will help them all through their career. Parents need to assure their children that they can be successful in life even though they may score low marks in examinations. They need to assure them that there are several avenues to be successful in life.

Good marks may get you into a reputed college but falling a little short of it will not be an obstacle in reaching your fullest potential. You are precious, lovable and a wonderful person who can make a difference in the society. Parents need to be extremely supportive, provide encouragement and most importantly give children unconditional love and care at all times.

There are innumerable instances where students have performed poorly and failed miserably in their academic career, yet have gone on to become exceptionally successful in life and have carved a niche for themselves in society. Thomas Alva Edison was not a high scorer; rather he was labelled as a failure. But the world knows him because of his remarkable contribution for the betterment of humankind. Failure cannot and should not be seen as the end of everything, as a part of the learning process and self-improvement with sheer determination.

Students today need to be practical, positive and passionate in their efforts. Parents as well as students need to be practical in their expectations and set realistic goals. Students have also to identify their limitations and take extra efforts to overcome them. Let failure and low marks not bring a feeling of despair, uncertainty, doubt and frustration. Also it is crucial for students to inculcate a passion that will intensify and fuel their desire to succeed.

It is time to correct the wrong assumption that low marks and failure is the dead end for everything in life. It is time to overcome this mentality that has been deeply engraved for years. Good marks may get you into a reputed college but falling a little short of it will not be an obstacle in reaching your fullest potential. You are precious, lovable and a wonderful person who can make a difference in the society. Parents need to be extremely supportive, provide encouragement and most importantly give children unconditional love and care at all times.

In no circumstances, should the parent resort to extreme measures to harm the child. Parents should facilitate an environment that is conducive for their children to achieve their full potential. In our Institutions, we urge parents to instil fear of God, values of integrity and respect and nurture their child’s natural talent rather than pushing them towards things they have no interest in. Love them and spend quality time with them. Schools on their part need to prepare students to become lifelong learners by providing them apt environment for creative thinking, together with communication and life skills.

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Dr Augustine F. Pinto
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Dr Augustine F. Pinto

Dr Augustine F. Pinto is a well-known educationist and the Chairman of Ryan International Group of Institutions, Mumbai.