Yesterday in my school whatsapp group someone posted the picture below
The picture was a dig on the news that first time in the history of ISC 'A Level' examination someone scored a perfect 100 in all subjects! I casually joked that thermometer better be in degree Fahrenheit!
The picture triggered a serious discussion in the group regarding school, grades, competition and parenting. A lot of parents were concerned about the future of their kids. One even commented, “I am worried my kids will become competitive.” Yet another put the below picture of his son and commented that he would rather have his kid play in sand than relentlessly chase grades.
I have often argued that school and college create literacy not education. In general to “excel in school” one needs to be good in subjects as diverse as history to music to physics. This is at odds with what is required in general to “ excel in life”. Generally in life in order to excel one needs to be passionate about one or at best a couple of things.Schools mass produce mediocres.
Schools set wrong objective in students – Objective of being “school topper” by getting highest grades in all subjects rather than exploring the one which the person truly loves! Schools have their own selfish agenda in this. Generally speaking schools are not really concerned with educating the next generation. The most well known schools around the world are concerned with how many toppers they produce at the city level, national level or international level. After all the school’s reputation hinges on how many top scorers it produces and not how many lives it enables. Well being and learning of individual students gets lost in this race to create toppers. A school would rather have two national toppers than an entire class where everyone is following his/her passion.
I once heard the following lines at a karate class for kids. The kids recite this after the teacher at the end of every lesson.
1) Be sincere
2) Respect others
3) Develop self discipline
4) Put maximum effort in everything you do
I think the last line is key – Put maximum effort in everything you do.
This question is to oneself not to one's parents or neighbors or society
Do you feel you gave your best?
If the answer is yes then you have achieved it. If the answer is NO, then even 100% marks in the exam will not save you in the long run despite acing the exam.
100% or 90%, Fail or Pass is external
Yes and No is internal
Those who hinge their happiness on Pass or 70% or 90% or 100% will forever be unhappy if that desired result is not achieved. One needs to be effort driven and not result-driven. That is the key to happiness as I once mentioned in one of my earlier writings.
Of course it is for the child to decide what she/he wants to put maximum effort in – Could be music, could be academics, could be sports.
There is a letter written by a Singaporean school Principal to parents. This letter probably is the most beautiful thing you will read today.