“My child scored class first”
“You need to secure the first rank this time”
“I know you didn’t study. Your mark shows!”
If you have heard any of this, then you are aware of the ‘Marks Culture’. It is usually accompanied with more symptoms including, parents’ thoughts of studies being the end of all, no other activity is as important or excels in everything attitude, endless coaching classes, not to miss the icing on the cake – their frustrated child.
Why is this culture wrong?
‘Marks’ or grade is assigning numeric to a writing. This writing without a doubt tests the articulation, understanding, and comprehension of a kid. One, however, needs to exercise caution as learning method of each individual is different. Rote is just one of them. While I let it sink in, you should also know that each and everyone has their own style of learning, and that is something that would stick with them always.
This brings me back to the pen to paper style. What would happen if the child is someone who is not good at putting things onto a paper but rather can narrate them in a manner that is unequivocal, or can rather draw out his/her understanding better? Does this mean the kid lacks knowledge? How does one assess the knowledge of an artist, an orator and a writer based on words written down within a stipulated time? This is the scene without calling attention to various ‘subjects’ that are clearly de-marked and classified. Let us bring that into this equation.
Assume a musician, a mathematician, an astrophysicist, a detective, a photographer, a biologist, an architect, a writer, a teacher, a CEO, a stock trader is put in a room, given 100 minutes to write on the common topic – Mona Lisa. Post which you know the drill – evaluation, marks, and ranks. Medals and honor ‘talented and successful’ on one hand, shunning down, remedial classes, ‘dishonor and fit-for-nothing’ on the other hand. Take a guess on who would score and who wouldn’t. Getting the picture of modern-day ‘mark culture’?
Why is this culture wrong?
Congratulations, the kid is left forever frustrated, and lost. ‘Lost’ because the child does not know why the performance is bad. How would they? As we silently sabotage their innate talents, suppress their uniqueness and force them to follow the ‘usual’. The child ends up being a failure, because the society, the schools of learning, the pillars of support ensure that they are failures. If the child finds out what they are good at later in life, they simply get lucky! What if they do not get lucky, we have successfully created a society where its people cannot be happy, because they are yet to know their purpose, yet to figure out constant learning, which thereby leads an unfulfilling life; or even worse cases, the child simply cease to exist. It is disheartening to see the number of children who commit suicide because they did not score well. They feel they let their family down. They not securing a certain grade would not ensure that they have a seat in that college. I’m in no way propagating those suicides, rather calling attention to all the parents, guardians, uncles, aunts, teacher and friends. Driving a child to commit suicide over marks can be stopped with little action from everyone. Every time a light fade, we lose one valuable talent, a talent that could change the world. A talent which could make their parents, family, and society proud and more successful.
Can something be done? Now?
The solution is obvious. Yes, you guessed it, let the child be. Expose the kid to various avenues to find what the kid is interested in, let them venture, get interested, lose interest. Guide them, guide them well, be compassionate and strict but with care. It is not going to be easy but it is definitely going to be worth it, I’m sure you will learn from them a lot, you will see a kid go on to become the masterpiece they are meant to be.