JAVEID HASSAN MALIK
Since my childhood days, I have been listening to this maxim, matriculation is a botheration for students. While I am not sure about its universal applicability but for Kashmiri students it certainly is, was and will remain. Every Kashmiri mother’s first wish is to see her child pass the matriculation exam as it is often considered the gateway for getting a government job. No matter how good you are in studies, at the back of mind, the results of matriculation are disturbing for everyone. A mediocre student somehow wants to cross this line without caring about the grades, while for a good student it is the moment to prove his/her worth, he/she wants to score better then at least his/her nearest rivals. On the occasion of results, a mood of festivity is found in almost every nook and corner; for some students it’s a moment of jubilation over getting good grades while for those who don’t manage to cross the line lock themselves up in their rooms until people have forgotten the results.
But often, the best way to console a failure in our valley is by recounting the fabricated folklore tail of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s seven-time failure in matric (although he never went to any school neither had any formal degree) .Thus, in Kashmir people don’t remember Tagore for his magnum opus Getanjali , but for his alleged matric failure.
Over past few decades matriculation results have evolved like no other result. In the eighties, they used to declare the result on radio by announcing roll number of pass out students only and exempted by default qualified as failure, then came the time of declaration of results through gazettes and now in the twenty first century, our board has gone digital and the internet has started ruling the roost on day of matriculation results.
Last year, JKBOSE declared only grades instead of marks. It was an encouraging step taken by the organization to get rid of the marks mania but unfortunately, they couldn’t sustain on it beyond one year and they have gone back to subsidized marks. Thus, matric class has turned into platform of racing for three figures among students which often leads to unnecessary comparisons among students based on marks that creates a hierarchy among students, with students with good marks on top ruling and those with low marks on bottom often carving for attention in society and schools. Our society is a bit conservative: we are concerned too much about others doings rather than our own problems and the story on day of results is no different. We don’t sleep with comfort unless and until we don’t search and enquire about results of everyone in locality and then we start to weigh their marks against intelligence.
Post result celebrations are in unique in our valley; sweets are distributed, almonds, walnuts and flowers are showered on pass outs in the countryside areas and often they became cynosure as guest start pouring with gift hampers and the failures are left on their own with no one ready to shoulder their pain, as success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.
The problem with our society is that we judge the intelligence of our kids only in academic percentages no matter how well he /she performs in other extracurricular activities like sports .In this circus of getting good marks and performing to the expectations of parents, many students fail to deliver thus they are compelled to take wrong steps like suicide and running away from home. We need to read our children’s brains by focusing attention on his interests and then nurture his/her talent in well planned manner so he doesn’t have to repent his whole life for being what he never wanted to be.
It is time for our parents to be more liberal regarding the career choice of their wards. Let them decide about their own way forward in their choice of subjects rather than thrusting our own choices. Our so called modern society gives discretionary authority to kids in every aspect of life; even regarding the choice of their life partner. Why can’t they then choose the way to live their dreams by choosing their subjects of choice? We need to get out of this medical mania quickly. We need some good historians, politician’s writers and economists who can prove their worth beyond the borders of valley and all this is only possible if we admit our students with good grades in these subjects rather than compelling them to take ubiquitous medical stream. Someone needs to break the ice; let it be the topper this time. Newspapers will get a new headline: tenth class topper wants to study economics. It will be the first time topper would take a subject beyond science; a precedent will be set and I am hopeful that the next generation will prefer Oxford and Cambridge over Bangladesh and Ukraine.
—The author holds a Master’s in Chemistry. He is NET /SLET qualified and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org