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Do Schools Put Too Much Pressure on Kids

The Right Amount Of Pressure, Not A 'bar' More Please!

Schools are considered temples of learning, where the next generation is nurtured and nourished suitably to meet the demands of the society and the nation. A person spends 12 - 14 years of his life in school. These years see his/her transformation from a kid to an adolescent to an adult. Within this span of a dozen or more years he learns about the world, the different forces that govern it, the different kinds of people and their languages and cultures. He/She is prepared to meer the world with knowledge, courage and to innovate and lead.

But sadly today schools create a 'robot-like' next generation whose learning is just limited to fact and theories and limit the child's ability to think laterally and out-of-the-box and to imagine and create. In the rush to secure more distinctions and first classes in the national level examinations, students are pressurised and forced to mug up things without really undrestanding them. Grades matter more than the depth of knowledge and acceptance over questioning things is the norm of today.

Children live in pressure-cooker like atmosphere today. Like rice that is force-cooked at higher pressures than ordinary, children are forced to learn things even before understanding them. Students are taught things that they usually are supposed to learn at a higher grade earlier itself so that they perform better in the next year's exam and increase the reputation of the institute. Competition among the different schools to produce rank-holders and more distinctions and first classes force the schools to burden the students with extra-classes, mock-exams and add to their mental pressure and anxiety to perform well. It also scraps off recreation periods like physical education, co-curricular activities periods extra to squeeze in more hours of science, maths, history and economics. The poor students, are hardly left with ant time for play or to do crafts or arts to refresh and rejenuate their minds.

With busy schedules of morning tutions, school hours and evening extra-classes and tests children are often busier than their working parents, coming home later than them. More over students are also many at times forced to study subjects that they don't have even the slightest inclination for. Pressure from teachers, parents and peers force many to students to take up subjects not of their choice, especially after completion of Class 10, ending up frustrating their lives. Lack of counselling and proper guidance in their academic careers add to the woes of the students.

Parents and the school like to project their wards are exemplary and over-achievers, often forcing students to juggle between sports, arts and academics against their wishes. Often students are made to take up dance or painting classes or tennis or badminton against their wishes so that the school and their parents can show-off their trophy-kids. Many a times these kids end up exhausting their energy even before thay reach their teenage. Encouraging children to take up co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are fine as long as they are enjoying it and not tiring themselves out to achieve the fatansies their parents once had for themselves.

It is a highly competitive world in itself and children too do worry about their future propspects and put pressure on themselves to do better. On to it are added demands and pressure from parents and the school. Parents and teachers compare a child's performance with another one and demoralizes the weaker kid. Harsh punishment systems followed in schools that embarass and cause physical and mental pain to the students also make life for students tougher. There are many children who suffer from high/low blood pressure problems and take medication for hypertension and other disorders even at such young ages. Lack of proper sleep, nightmares of failures and admonishment and high stress levels are common phenomena among students today. And those students who cannot cope up with all these pressure end up ending their lives. The student suicide rate has increased over the years and parental pressure is one of the reasons for it.

Learning a child's strengths and encouraging him/her to take up such activities that can enhance his/her strenths and downplay the weaknesses should be the key to a better educational system. Today's educational system is based more on marks than merits and in the run-up to secure more marks in uninteresting subjects chidren often forget their dreams and desires. The sytem is actually killing the child and making a machine out of him/her that can produce 90+ marks and go on to be an engineer or doctor or scientist and nothing else.

Children forget to enjoy the small pleasures of life like enjoying the first rains, playing football just for the fun of it rather than for getting the best players award, trekking through the wilderness etc. Letting a child be what he or she is while at the same time monitoring and channelising their strengths and talents is what schools are supposed to do. Bringing up the nest generation in the right way is no men task and doesnot simply include reading to them from textbooks and drawing diagrams on the board but includes talking to them at personal and understanding them for what they are. Applying the right amount of pressure can mould the raw talent into a reliable and wonderful personality but excess pressure can damage the item and the raw talent would be lost to both his/her near and dear ones as well as to the society.

Gitanjali Maria