‘Low Marks’ May Not Create ‘Bad Students’
Hello Lovely People. My today’s guest is Destination Infinity. He is a Blogger, Video Creator and Sustainable-Living enthusiast based in Chennai. He has been blogging at Destination Infinity for more than a decade now, and believes that learning is a continuous process that starts once we complete our formal education.
Please join me in welcoming DI to my space here and I hope you enjoy his thought-provoking post.
Over to you, DI…
The second world war did not happen because of one man who wanted to plunge the world into a war. It happened because of the millions who obediently and unquestioningly followed his orders.
That’s why obedience may not always be a good thing.
But why am I talking about obedience in an article that’s supposed to be about education and marks?
I’ll give you another insight. Did you think our education system was designed to impart knowledge and encourage creativity?
Think hard before you answer. Because, although on a surface level, you might be tempted to say ‘Yes’, deep under, in your subconscious minds you know that’s not the case.
The education system, at least in India, doesn’t exist to impart knowledge.
Then why do people invest so much money, time, and efforts to educate their children in good schools and colleges? If great minds are not the outcome of the education system, what is?
To answer that question we should answer – What makes some children score more marks over others?
Is it their competitive attitude? Is it their ability to memorize and practice? Is it their patience and discipline to sit through classes, extra classes, tuitions, homework, home studies, etc.?
All the above three, right?
If a system needs to impart the above three, it primarily needs to impart obedience and discipline. Our education system excels at that.
What else could explain kids sitting through hours of lectures, and still having to go to tuitions, and still having to study from their books by themselves at home? What else could explain more memory power = more marks rote-learning method we’ve been studiously following? What else could explain all that DUMBING DOWN forced on kids to get stellar marks?
While obedience (in others) has its merits for the few people directing things at the top, it seldom has benefits for the masses who are actually obedient.
Have you noticed politicians or entrepreneurs who are disciplined or obedient? There maybe a few, but by and large it’s the rule-benders and breakers who are at the top.
Although they themselves don’t, they expect everyone under them not to break any rules – and be obedient.
Did you notice the contrast in the above sentence?
Our education system was built to serve the interests of the few people at the top, while everyone else toils to achieve their bosses’ (usually fat) objectives.
I am not saying that getting great marks/grades is always bad. It’s fine for people who do. They get to have a relatively secure future while being perpetually unhappy about their jobs and life.
However, why do we follow a culture where the failures and dropouts are criticized heavily both by teachers and parents – to the extent of pushing a few of them to even commit suicide – when they are actually good at something else?
Which is:Taking risks, Breaking rules and Creating a new world.
Contradicting my title, I should admit that low marks does create bad students, at least in the Indian educational context.
But low marks don’t create Bad people. Failure in exams doesn’t mean failure in Life. In fact, the opposite is true in many cases. Haven’t we all heard about great founders and leaders being dropouts?
What do you think? What’s your opinion on this subject?
January 22, 2020 2:06 pm|
My pet peeve!!! How is it possible for the whole class to stand first? Someone has to take the second, third… and the last place, right? I agree with Aamir’s Khan’s character in 3 Idiots: Results should never be posted publicly. If a student has the natural aptitude to get great marks, good for her. Otherwise, they should not feel pressurised to get more marks. Anyway, how can marks decide if a personal is intelligent or not? Just because they can learn something by heart?
I believe one can excel only when one competes with oneself – the better version of oneself from yesterday to today to tomorrow. Otherwise, there’s no difference between human beings and sheep.
And I agree about people at the top wanting their followers to remain ‘sheeple’ and not take initiative, something in the lines of “Do as I say and not as I do.”
All this can be changed, definitely, one step at a time. When each individual decides to value himself. Fingers crossed!
January 22, 2020 5:03 pm|
Really valid points and I totally agree! Thanks for this article.
January 22, 2020 6:44 pm|
I do think the focus of our education system should not be on marks be on making our children think for themselves, question the status quo and learn to create unique solutions to the problems they face in life. It HAS to equip them with key skills to face life which sadly doesn’t come according to a prescribed syllabus! That is the bane of our system.
January 23, 2020 7:32 am|
Ooooh you’ve opened a Pandora’s Box here. I have a HUGE gripe with the entire educational system. It is designed to favour children with good rote learning capacities. All it teaches them to do is to score marks – it doesn’t prepare them to negotiate life and those are wholly different things. Discipline is important but not at the cost of free thinking.
January 23, 2020 12:21 pm|
I agree rote learning is really detrimental to the growth of our kids. Good article.
January 23, 2020 6:22 pm|
Valid points, but when you have a rebel kid and teachers who believe he shouldn’t back answer, you wonder what to follow. So till now, I’ve been just sitting and letting him be.
January 24, 2020 4:48 am|
I completely agree with you here. The education system in india does not impart knowledge. It is all about scoring grades and kids rely in ratta system and nobody is bothered. At the end all those years feel wasted and we don’t get to learn anything. I compare my education with my son’s (who goes to school in the UK) and i feel education level in india needs so much improvement. The kindset needs changing before we could implement anything else.
January 24, 2020 9:40 am|
The state of our system leaves much to be desired. I remember, when my son was in the third grade or something, the TV was on with the lok sabha channel, showing the house in session. The politicians were screaming and arguing. He looked up from what he was doing and asked if there was no teacher to control them. And of course we had no convincing answer. We are blessed with criminals and rogues in power. This topic just makes my blood boil. We are still stuck with a system where grades are everything and decide how far a student can go.
January 24, 2020 10:09 am|
Excellently written post. For many many years this discussion has been going on, but now we have reached a stage where it is only about marks. And nothing else matters. We have stopped asking questions because it won’t lead anywhere. There’s so much competition just to get into a higher secondary class. True, low marks don’t create bad students. They are good at something else. Unfortunately, our education system is terrible at filling up that gap.
January 25, 2020 11:45 am|
I hear a much-awaited overhaul is going to happen to our education system soon. Until then we are stuck with rote-learning and tuitions, I guess. But this system has created a lot of thinkers and doers in its time. That is, before the competitions and the comparisons crept in to weigh down on the young minds!
Earlier failures in life make a person more apt to be successful later in life, this I have noticed all around me. This is applicable to schools and colleges too, I guess.
January 25, 2020 4:25 pm|
Yes, Indian education system is flawed because of the emphasis on rote learning. Understanding and having the ability to apply things and being a better human being are more important than marks. Also, it depends on an individuals interest on what they want to learn and do.
January 26, 2020 10:31 am|
Oh yes, I agree with this view. Our education system encourages rote learning and obedience, not critical thinking and questioning. And that leads to adults who don’t have the ability to think rationally for themselves and are too afraid to break the status quo. They may be “successful”, but I wonder how many of them actually love or enjoy their life. Or even think of the meaning of it all, and then go out to build meaningful and purposeful lives. Not too many, I think!
January 31, 2020 12:41 pm|
This topic triggers plenty of thoughts – the education system in india is pathetic, the craze for english medium schools and parents who think that the children must either be a doctor or an engineer … anything other than these two streams are useless. There are schools and colleges wherein the students are only made to study from early hours in till late evenings – no games period, the answers have to be written exactly what is in the text book, if the child writes in his/her own language they will get less marks or sometimes no marks at all. The amount of books carried by our children and the focus on marks is terrible, the less we speak the better. In a system where children are not encouraged, helped to see the strengths in them and develop their talents, they will end up in choosing careers they are not happy with… its a sad state of affairs and even now those who take other than maths and science are treated as second class:) Some of the institutions are running business in publishing the toppers list from 1 to 10 and I always used to wonder what happens from 11 to rest of the number, either they are humiliated, or pressurized with tutions and still others feel its better to end their lives. Agree with you: Taking risks, breaking rules and creating ….
February 23, 2020 11:47 am|
Someone had to say this! In school, I was this ‘mediocre’ student who, ultimately, scored high marks in college. No, I wasn’t among toppers and far from that but done well. Everyone deserves a fair chance in life for the true purpose of education is not about marks. I think, Taare Zameen par is such a good reference for what education should be.