Ever since we were young we were always told that getting good marks is important to leading a good life, some of us were beaten and forced into studying, some of us were so fearful of their parents and teachers that we tried to study at least, even if the results were never encouraging and then there were some of us who actually loved learning and wanted to expand our knowledge as much as possible and take our intellectual capabilities to new heights. Every student at least once in their life asks themselves, what would happen if I got less marks in one exam, one test, one year. What difference would that make? How could it possibly affect me and why am I always asked to score well even though sometimes I just can’t understand the topic? If not world over, this is something that most of the students experience in their life, constant pressure and high expectations to be met to satisfy our parents, teachers and also to command any type of respect among our classmates.
The reason getting good grades is perceived to be so important among global population and more so in Asia is actually down to a mixture of lack of national infrastructure and an aversion to change down to the cynical side of the human brain. Parents always want what is best for their children, or what they believe is the best thing for their kids. In many Asian countries, national infrastructure has been set up on the basis of a person’s academic skills. You get a basic standard of education which is same for most of the students across the country and then are expected to get a bachelors degree and get a job or go for even higher studies. I can speak only for my country in this matter, but if we look at someone trying to fulfill their talents and dreams through the way of extracurricular activities or sports or anything different from the same old academics and your chances of being able to achieve something reduce drastically. A child’s parents understandably observe this and react to the situation by making their kids focus on academics where in sports, music and art become secondary hobbies or talents that cannot be used to forge a person’s career.
Governments come and go trying to change the situation and offer sports scholarships and other incentives to aspiring students but that is where the cynicism within the human mind comes in. Elders have seen many governments come and go, they have more experience than us and know, or at least believe that whatever the incentive is, will eventually be taken away leaving my child in a limbo of darkness which would lead to an uncertain and rocky future. So this ends up becoming a cyclical hell for anyone aspiring to be a voice for change, the people who can enforce this change are filled with cynicism and skepticism from past experiences and the politicians who try to enforce some changes end up having to repeal their schemes due to its failure.
So many students have to face the fear of not being good enough, of scoring less in one subject, of being termed as a failure or someone who couldn’t handle the burden. Children as young as about 7 or 8 are seen struggling to find some time to devote to their emotional and mental needs to be calm, composed and in a relaxed state of mind. Many of them get scars so deep in their psyche that they are hardly ever able to recover from all that has gone wrong. The worst thing, out of all this is that a person’s troubles as well get attributed to his/her academic skills. “ Oh he is weak in studies, people like him get depressed now and then, it is ok.” “…but he is so intelligent, how could he have any problems in his life? What more does he want? He should focus on his studies and stop being depressed.”
So education is something that is very critical and crucial to each and every person’s social image and self respect. It is something a toddler is exposed to first hand. We always want someone young to keep learning something new and develop themselves but not so much if it is something which cannot be seen as a sustainable future career. This goes on for generations and generations and as things are going, the changes are going to be very slow as well. We cannot always end up blaming the education system because, much like the many economic structures, there is no right answer as to what the best and most appropriate education system is. With the population boom going on across the world, we cannot afford or even imagine having an education system which suits each and every individual’s personal capabilities. We have to do the best with what we have and try and make small and certain changes to give a more holistic approach to a person’s growth.