IN our society, the worrying trend among young people is the pressure to score all As in their examinations.
Teachers, headmasters and parents are equally to blame. Schools tend to place a high value on school results.
A famous Scottish politician, Johann Lamont, once said ‘Schools are not exam factories for the rat race.’ I couldn’t agree more.
There are many programmes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at schools to achieve and fulfil. The planned programmes are intense and packed. Teachers have to toil hard to deliver the exam tips and input. The pertinent question is, if the student scores all As in the exam, does that mean he is a genius?
Life is so competitive. Some parents like to compare their children when it comes to school results. What are they trying to prove? Every child has unique traits and character.
I have seen some teenage students who struggle to study and confine themselves in their room just to please their parents’ dreams to score all As in the exam. These students do not know anything else outside of the world apart from the facts and figures in the textbook.
When it comes to language learning, many think that by memorising the facts in the textbook, it is sufficient to sit for the exam.
Truthfully speaking, when I had a conversation with some students, their grammar and vocabulary are limited.
As an educator, language learning, be it Bahasa Malaysia or English, is not acquired by memorising. We have to read extensively.
When I sat down with one of our famous writers, Uthaya Sankar S.B recently, I asked him the secret of his writing ability in both Bahasa Malaysia and English. He eloquently told me that his passion for reading was the ultimate secret for his successful career. He has also carved a name in the writing industry. I admire his capabilities in speaking and writing in Bahasa Malaysia. In a nutshell, reading is a habit and students should practise it.
Some of my former students whom I met spoke about what they went through to get good results. Some feel they have lost their childhood fun by studying so hard.
Childhood must be balanced as some parents get their children coached at home too. This will cost them but as long as their children do well, it is fine with them. Children also need to go out and connect with nature. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Just imagine sitting and reading most of the time without going out. This can even affect our health.
When reminiscing about my childhood, my friends and I spent time to connect with nature. There were no strict rules. We watched TV, listened to songs, plucked fruits, rode bicycles and went jungle trekking. Frankly, I don’t recall my parents being stressed out with my results. However, the paper chase and unrealistic expectations nowadays is frightening.
Parents should realise that some children are late boomers too. By comparing and forcing their children to focus solely on their studies may rob them of their childhood.
We should not create a robotic lifestyle for our children where they have to follow a strict timetable before seeing the real world. We must ask ourselves if we are being fair to them.