Passing Exams Does Not Equal Success

Passing Exams Does Not Equal Success
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A nineteen year old girl attempted to drown herself to death in Sopore. It was only the fortuitous intervention of some fishermen who were around that saved the girl. The reasons for the attempted suicide pertain to the girl in contention’s twelfth class examination results: she had failed these. The girl’s recourse to an extreme step is the symptom of a larger malaise. The reference here is to the unwarranted and undue stress and pressure that parents, families, educational institutions and society put on examinations and the imperative of success thereof. This is not only uncalled for but puts “success” in the very narrow framework of passing or excelling in exams. Obiter dictum, academic examinations are , by no means and measures, the ultimate arbiter of success and intelligence. The remit of these exams, especially, in our part of the world, test memory and the ability to rote which are not parameters of intelligence but merely test faculties. Moreover, exam results, while these do impinge on the academic and sometimes career graph of students , do not correlate entirely with success. A few egregious examples might suffice to illustrate the point. One is the trajectory of the great scientist Albert Einstein. The man’s stupendous achievements and contributions are known to all but he consistently and constantly failed exams , so much so that his teachers insisted upon his parents to withdraw him from school. In the contemporary world, there are instances galore of individuals whose inventions, discoveries and contributions in as varied domains as technology , business, commerce and science have been remarkably extraordinary. Bill Gates, an Ivy League University drop out strikes to mind here. Citing these examples is not to imply that schooling and formal education do not matter; they obviously do but the intensity of pressure that we put on out young is uncalled for. And, holding examinations to be the be all and end all of everything is not only wrong but also can be psychologically and emotionally debilitating for a young man or woman. While most do not go to the length that the Sopore girl did, but many suffer in silence impinging upon their ability to lead functional and meaningful lives. Generally and philosophically speaking, both “success” and “failure” are relative. The overall parameters of these are determined by society and thence are constructs. To prevent our young students from going to grief and for leading fuller, productive lives and even discovering their latent but unrealized potential, it is time that society changes its standards and measurements of success and failure. The results can be salubrious and fulfilling.