Exams have for long been part and parcel of the education system but the present generation faces more stress and strain while taking them. The curriculum, the teachers, the parents and lack of self-confidence of students contribute to this state of affairs.
The present system is more curriculum-oriented than it once was. Teachers take care not to put children under stress in lower classes but it is not the case in higher classes. There may not be a proper planning on the part of teachers and students to cover portions week-wise and month-wise. Moreover, the students these days are more dependent on notes in capsule form than on the textbook; reading habit has come down among students generally. Together, they add to the stress level, especially in the last minute.
Most schools finish portions by December and start revision, which I do not think a very healthy idea as revision is an exercise to be taken up just before the exam. It doesn't warrant completing the portions in a hurry without imparting knowledge to students and by insisting them to learn by heart the answers without understanding the concepts. Majority of the students are not even able to write the answers when the question comes in an indirect way.
Mugging up textbooks and revising them through test papers and retests create stress among students and reduce their confidence to face examination.
Teachers now focus only on marks; until and unless they transfer true knowledge to students and provide them a platform to find out answers in a meaningful way, they will not be able to serve children meaningfully. Scoring A+ is alone does not ensure success for a child in life.
Parents who would not bother about the studies of their wards would pay more attention to them during the examination time. Working parents often take leave, only to put pressure on the students. Such practises must stop. Attention on their children has to a regular affair for the parents.
Low marks don't mean end of life. A student who does not excel in maths could excel in arts. Time and again parents are reminded of nurturing latent talents. Albert Einstein said everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it's stupid.
(The writer is Shyni V Thomas, principal, Global Public School, Cherpu, Thrissur)...