Do Grades Really Matter?
Looking at the Recent Bihar Exams Results fiasco, it seems like the Board Exam frenzy is still not over. The series of developments after the declaration of board exam results showed how the toppers of Arts and Science in Bihar were clueless about simple questions despite being the state toppers. This led the Bihar School Examination Board to conduct re-examination, where the toppers failed to clear and thereby led to their results being cancelled. This definitely jolted the students but also raises a deep question on the education system that is prevailing in our country.
In our society, Grades are often considered as the single most important factor while determining college admissions, job applications and future success. Good grades grant entrance to an elite academic college. Academic success at a top university guarantees a well paying, highly respected job. Well paying jobs grant the necessary outcomes of success, including a big house, exotic vacations, societal status, large bank accounts and many more luxuries of life. Examining this assumption will state that 'Grades determine Success'.
The Problem : Score, Rather than to Learn
By caring too much about grades, Most Students, Parents and Schools are actually missing the whole point of Education. Students are forced to restrict themselves to mugging up their course books endlessly before the Examinations. The failure to do so results in poor marks. The constant pressures of scoring well, ideas of excellence and the competition generated by such pressures lead to some of the students committing suicide. Some of the students despite performing exceptionally well in their board exams do not get admission into their Preferred College or are unable to get their Preferred Course which is heartbreaking for them and hamper their self worth. Our Education System pushes students to score rather than to learn. Academics have turned into a race to be better than the best and there seems to be a constant pressure that captivates the young minds and the craze to score 97% and more drives the children into the race to get the score by hook or by crook. Cramming up the course books might turn them into 'Book Smart' but this kind of education raises a question on 'Does the present education system represent holistic education?'
Marks are not a comment of Self Value.
The system that allows for little or no original thought and even actively discourages creative thinking and intelligent responses simply states, Measuring intelligence through examinations are limited to mugging up and to get ahead of others in getting a certain amount of percentage of marks on their Mark sheet to show their intelligence to the rest of the world and raise their self worth. What they forget in the process of all this that Grades do not define us. What defines us is the changes education brings within us. Education is about better knowing yourself, better knowing the world around you, understanding realities and making an impact to make the world a better place. It is certainly not a comment on self value or projected success.
It is essential to reflect on some of the leading Public figures who dropped out of school and have ended up in prominent positions of public life to know that the traditional system of assessment was not capable of measuring their particular abilities, their sense of purpose, and creativity. There have also been many intelligent people, as measured by our schools, who have the indicators of intelligence i.e quickness of understanding and the ability to perform cognitively at a higher level whereas our measure of intelligence depends more on giving expected and appropriate answers rather than showing any initiative or creative spark.
The Need for Change
We need to look wider and encourage the entrepreneur, the inquisitive, the creative in our classrooms to make the most of who they are and to bring out richness and diversity of thought and ideas in our society. We need to promote knowledge instead of encouraging the children to get a certain kind of score to be perceived as 'intelligent'.
And for the Young Readers : Don't let society explain you with labels. Explore the real you inside and work on it. If you have a talent, believe in it, work on it and make it happen because nothing worth having comes easy. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. You will be making mistakes but with hard work, there will be no limits.