Students are Not Pressure Cookers

Students are Not Pressure Cookers

The title of this article has been inspired by a line from a very famous Indian movie. In the scene a rebellious student tries to rationale with his professor on how the pressure of education drove another student to commit suicide. And the scenario wasn’t a figment of imagination. It is reality. Almost every year around the time when students have their results coming out or before they got to go to college we hear the news of them committing suicide. And the reasons are absurd. Scoring low marks, not getting in to a famous college, being ashamed for losing out on a few points in a subject and so on. But behind all these reasons lie the root of evil, pressure.

The education system has been very archaic that hasn’t adapted itself to the changes of the modern world. Mere upgrades have happened like computers being added into classrooms making them smart classrooms. But the students remain a victim of this system like lambs to a slaughter. Over time the system and society have formed a nexus to make education a symbol of status and a yardstick for success. And this has been used to taunt, discriminate and sometimes obliterate students that may not comply with the whims and fancies of it.

The effects of this pressure aren’t short term as many parents and members of the society claim it to be. They think that this is a kind of endurance testing which the children need to go through to fare well in life. But unlike boot camp or military training where life skills are also taught, there is no such endurance or skill that the children gain through this pressure test. It is just an unnecessary amount of mental trauma and stress that they endure. And it affects them into their adult hood where they aren’t able to take the ups and downs of life and break down at every little flaw that life might throw at them. It is said that children who have undergone such stress exhibit PTSD traits seen in army vets who return from war.

The time has come for education to be investigated as a system and redesigned to accommodate the modern necessities of human life over mere score cards. Standing proof for the fact that education and the score card is not the be all and end all of life are abundant. Why, even parents who fall prey to the system have peers who were failures at school running businesses or achieving in their respective fields today. Education should evolve to be more than class rooms, books, scorecards and prestige. It shouldn’t be a supply chain factory that produces the same model time and again. And for that to happen it has to be a collaborative effort from society at large.

To change, education should be treated as an essential need that imbibes skill in students and not a rat race. Like everyone needs healthcare, everyone needs education. And nowhere do we see to terminally ill patients pitted against each other to see who survives. Removing the competition will give a fresh perspective to educationists, teachers and students. It will be easier to identify the interest and ability of individual students and guide them in the needed direction. And most importantly life skills should be taught as an essential subject in schools. Skills that will have practical applications in the real world. In this way children will become better contributors to society will be while being able to maintain a healthy frame of mind.

Parents should encourage their children to be more than a good student. They should help build their child into a better citizen for society. And they should also constantly reinforce the fact that marks or an Ivy League degree doesn’t mean skill. Skill comes with practice and hard work. They should be the backbone for their child’s wholesome development. And by wholesome it includes physical, metaphysical and mental soundness. Ensuring their presence at all levels of their growth and not just in PTA meetings. And most importantly parents should uphold the child’s ambitions over what society dictates that they need to be.

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