By Akeel Rashid
Following the announcement of 10th and 12th class board examination results, the newspapers in Jammu and Kashmir were replete with congratulatory content regarding the students who qualified these exams. Every school and educational institute claimed the remarkable achievements of their students. The advertisements in newspapers suggest that coaching centres were anxious to handle the success(ess) of the students; besides, various schools and colleges have begin with the admission processes for the deserving students. To put it briefly, one can clearly see that there is no shortage of ‘success handlers’ but at the same time the dearth of ‘failure handlers’ is poignantly evident. As a norm, to all those students who received failing grades, what awaits them is just reappearance in the examination and nothing else.
Our education system maybe better and quite responsive at handling the success (ess) of students but it has so far never attempted to handle the failures of students. If the government run schools are ahead at producing failures, private schools are also not far behind in the same but it is only the bad performance of government run schools which remains a matter of discussion while as private schools just own the students who pass their examinations and not those who fail in it. There is no denying the fact that most of the times the failure is chosen but it is also true that sometimes the failure is also forced upon students. After the announcement of 12th class exams results, in order to seek the truth about their failures, I met a few students who did not pass the examination. Most of these students told me that that they were forced to take up certain subjects by their parents which were beyond the grasp of their intellect. Just like the success which has got many desirable aspects, failure is not plain and it has also got many dimensions that need transformation. The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) also known as “School of Failures” holds such a distinction of assessing the dimensions of ‘student failures’. Sonam Wangchuk who is the founder of ‘SECMOL’ saw the failure of the students in the 10th class examination which was recorded 95 percent in the year 1998 not as the failure of the students but for him it signified the failure of the system and with this approach this failure percentage of class 10th students came down to just 10 percent after a gap of ten years.
The educational institutes of Jammu and Kashmir should take a cue from the ‘SECMOL’ initiative and adopt policies to tackle the student failures. With the government of J&K announcing remedial classes for students of Dardpora school in Kupwara district where only one out of 44 students passed the recently held examination, the government should also urge all the other educational institutes to take responsibility of starting remedial classes for its students who have failed the examination.
Handling Student Failures also the Responsibility of Society
The problem with the feeling of euphoria and social importance assigned to the board examination results is that it leads to an error of judgment that foretells what a student is going to do rest of his/her life academically. But, the truth is that passing the 10th or 12th class examination is not the finishing line of a student’s academic race. Instead, these two achievements are mere steps in the ladder and there are more of them ahead in the academic career of students. Parents should stop associating the exam result of their kids with the self-esteem and also they should not take these academic outcomes as the verdict of their children’s’ careers and even lives.
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