Parent’s Obsession with Marks Culture – Wake up to Learning Styles!

“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.

The image was prompt in The Chennai Blogger’s Club.

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  • Padmaja PB

    I think nowadays parents have started recognising that their kids can become something other than an engineer, auditor or doctor. The problem I see is even in fields other than academics they want their children to be no. 1. Pressure to perform is being thrust upon the kid even in fields like arts where the kid goes because of pure interest. This pressure to perform makes something the child enjoyed into a nightmare hence making the kid hate their hobbies also. Art is an expression of their inner self. How can a child express himself under pressure? Be it dance and singing or physics and math that your child is interested in, why not consider imbibing the notion that hardwork pays and not high performance pays?

    • Lakshmiramanan


      I agree with every word you say! That is something that I would like to address as the next step. However, this madness with marks is still there looming large with many parents. I know parents who insult kids, yell at them, punish them. In fact, remember the video that was trending sometime back – Kohli had also commented and it had become a huge deal. The child would have been barely 5 years. This is largely to a wider set of people.

      Yes, I can understand people are changing, it is so slow!

      Thank you for stopping by!
      Keep smiling,
      Lakshmi Ramanan

  • Mahalakshmi

    Things are changing for the good these days…not all parents are behind marks and they do let their child live their dream…it is changing…but for this to be really effective our education system needs a complete spin around…not sure if that is there anywhere in the near future…

    A good write for sure Lakshmi…Hope to see a better future soon…??

    • Lakshmiramanan


      True. The education system needs to change, a lot! WIth that said, the society can push the system to change too. They can demand. But many are just so satisfied with the current scenario. Hope it changes soon!

      Thank you for stopping by!
      Keep smiling,
      Lakshmi Ramanan

  • Sarah

    An excellent article one I would like more parents to take notice of. I wish more parents would engage with their children and form relationships where their children are encouraged to be inquisitive learners rather than focusing on academics and the amount of work they are producing. I do feel there is a big change happening and more parents are aware of this, as with everything it’s education and making parents aware of the ways their children are learning.

    • Lakshmiramanan


      THere is a lot of awareness, many are opening up currently. Either because the kids’ rebel and are becoming influencers or because the opportunities are becoming real! My two cents!

      Thank you for stopping by!
      Keep Smiling,
      Lakshmi Ramanan

  • gils

    Super. But such a process does it applies to all? Usually when i read something i try to think of the converse. Can a middle income group parent afford such a “luxury”for their kid. Yes. it’s a luxury to have dreams when you’ve financial struggles. Anyone who can overcome these would definitely be the best. But as a kid, it sure is the responsibility of the parents to be the wind under their wings and not bogging them down. very difficult catch-22