MindGrind Mondays : Has the societal emphasis on marks done more harm than good to the real pursuit of knowledge?
28 student suicides are reported every day in India.
Has the societal emphasis on marks done more harm than good to the real pursuit of knowledge?
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, every hour one student commits suicide in India, with about 28 such suicides reported every day.
Schools were intended to benefit the society by educating its citizens, but an education system which states that grades are the epitome of intellect has stripped education of its beauty.
Last year, 19 students in Telangana committed suicide within a week after State’s intermediate results were announced. Two years back, 12 students in Madhya Pradesh ended their lives in a single day after the release of the board exam’s results. Esteemed institutions like IITs and India’s coaching hub- Kota has seen a series of student suicides every year.
Historically, grades have existed primarily for institutions and not for the benefit of student learning per se. As more and more educational institutions were founded in the 19th and 20th century, grades were introduced to communicate student readiness and accomplishment among these institutions. This trend, however, has led society at large to believe that good grades are synonymous to intellect.
It has become undeniable that the grades system has done more harm than good to the real pursuit of learning for more than one reasons.
Associating self-worth with grades and inculcating a risk-averse behaviour
Parents, teachers and even employers are all accomplices in making students associate self-worth with grades. This has had unfortunate outcomes like anxiety, depression, hypertension and suicide among students. This connection of self-worth and grades also leads students to inculcate a risk-averse behaviour and so they choose subjects/streams where better grades are possible rather than those that they really want to pursue.
Will this fear of failure ever let our youth dream big and pursue their true interests?
Grades, not knowledge have become the final destination
It is not uncommon for students to skip interesting concepts and information if it is not going to be on the test. Grades, intended to measure progress and learning have become the end goal. Such a goal forces students to memorise study material necessary to pass exams even though they do not understand most of it. There is no limit to qualitative learning. Grades, however, are like a glass ceiling that students do not breakthrough. This is because more often than not, obtaining a grade signals the end of a learning process.
Does this not hinder the real pursuit of knowledge?
Loss of intrinsic motivation due to bad grades
Whenever a student scores less in a subject, even if he/she loves it, more often than not intrinsic motivation to study is lost. The feeling of failure is so overpowering that the initial inherent motivation and the love of a particular subject is also lost.
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Co-Author : Pallvi Hooda