Every year it is the same thing when the Board Exam results are announced for classes ten and twelve. There is almost a hysterical celebration by schools and individuals, as though the children have achieved the impossible. This, naturally, puts the average performers more in the shade. They are made to feel inadequate in some way. The toppers talk about how many hours they studied – an average ten a day – and how they shut themselves off from the world to achieve their ‘dream’. This scholastic ability is lauded above all else, which is the result, mostly, of the career pattern that is desired by parents for their children.
It is true that the ability to work hard should be inculcated at a young age, but that should not be the only virtue children ought to be brainwashed into. It is far more important that children study the subjects they like and do well at them, and not so well in others. (Those who do well in all should be the exceptions and not the norm, as it is at present.) This will better shape the trajectory of their careers. It is possible that a child may be pushed into doing well at subjects necessary for a career in medicine or engineering because these are the sought after professions today, but parents should be aware that there are many other career paths that can be as fulfilling for children.
There are all kinds of children. Some are by nature studious, but others are more hands-on and doers. Some like music, the arts, the outdoors, and may find it difficult to slog through the forced hours of study to get through an exam. It may be particularly noted that through history and even more so in the present day and age, it is the non-conformists or mavericks that have made an impact on the world.
It is mostly the responsibility of the schools that they consistently reward and promote excellence in the other qualities important in life, such as leadership, sports, creativity, etc., so that those who perform averagely in studies do not feel inferior or left behind in any way. This should be communicated to the parents as well. Above all, going by each child’s performance over the years and the inherent talent, a realistic goal should be established and the path chalked out. As a result, children should be able to anticipate how many marks they are likely to get and why that is suited to them. There is no reason, for instance, that someone heading to be a fashion designer, a chef, a dancer, a musician, or a film-maker, should score a hundred in maths, or science, or biology. Children should, instead, have an ambition that they should passionately follow from as early on as possible. Even if they do change their goals, doing what interests one will prepare them for success in the essential process of self-discovery.