Very strange it is that the academic managers and the parents on one hand emulate Lord Shri Krishan but on the other they ignore or forget His Divine advice given below to sincerely engage in doing their duty and never to expect any fruits (results).
Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani 1
Which means that as you have controls over your duty only not on fruits, so do not let the fruit be your goal.1
Then why they force or expect their students/wards to ensure the best results in their examinations? It clearly shows that the Academic Managers and parents are not themselves spiritually enlightened and consequently they are not only themselves on the wrong path but also thrust the adolescents into the darkness of ignorance. Apparently the people may have control over doing only their duty; but how can they have control over the outcome of their efforts. It is true that they may engage in any work or job they are interested in and put in their best efforts for better performance. But has anyone least control over the fruits/results which their work/job may yield? Truly speaking answer to this question is “No.” Then how can the Academic Managers and the parents expect the adolescents to have control over their examination results?
Yes, we may motivate them to perform their Swadharam (Swadharam of students to study) carefully, diligently and sincerely; and also to grasp the concepts being taught to them instead of mugging up the facts. This is the concept of Karamyog Lord Krishan envisaged in which the students are required to be oriented. They should rather be briefed very well that high marks may not always be a guarantee to success. Deep knowledge of the concepts and ability to apply them is rather a sure way to succeed in life. But the adolescents will identify their Swadharam (Self-chosen duty) only when they are properly guided by their spiritually enlightened guides (Academic Managers including the parents) well in time. If the adolescents’ mentoring is faulty how can they be on the right path? So the Academic Managers should never burden the adolescents unnecessarily with such maniac expectations, efforts and goals to secure the maximum marks. I fail to understand why the schools, colleges and parents are so much concerned with high marks which are not at all a guarantee to success. Such expectations from the students rather create mental imbalance and unhealthy situations among them. Recently seen consequences of this phenomenon have been very disastrous. After examination results not up to expectations, the students go into depression. Some fall ill. More sensitive either desert their homes or commit suicide. To overcome this crisis, several call centres have been established to counsel the students during examination days and after the declaration of the board results.
As said earlier fear of examinations, anxiety over better performance to achieve more than expected results but securing poor marks have been driving many teenagers to take that desperate and irreversible step: Suicide. Suicide is not a child’s play. The students feel driven to it only when they compare its agonies with the shame they are to live with because of their poor performance. It clearly speaks a lot of mental pressure on them before, during or after the examinations. During the examination days the anxiety levels peak both for students and their parents. Thereafter if the results are good as per expectations, then there is the extended worry of getting admission into a good college. If expectations go hay wire, the teenagers are put to shame because of the hype that was created on the onset of the examinations or before them. Examination frenzy pushes sales of memory aid pills and other stimulants to high levels, say the doctors and druggists.
The Academic Managers will have not only to rethink over this grave issue but also have to educate the parents about the Karam-Sidhant (Karmic Theory) and whether achieving high marks is a true measure of one’s success in life? Is there a correlation between successful people in the world and the marks they secured in their academic career? History does not vouch for it. There have been numerous high achievers in different fields who were average or mediocre during their academic journey but performed excellently thereafter in their professional life and won name and fame for themselves. Realizing it the corporate sector is reported to have started not to take top rankers because they were found to be having tunnel-vision i.e. they could never think out of the box and were not broad-minded; the quality which makes a successful careerist. It is true to a great extent as there is hardly any country which is run by rank holders. It is those who dabbled in much more than mere academics who seem to fit in the job. So, what is the big deal?
We often forget to tell our youngsters that the achievements of great men and women stood on the foundation of the mistakes they made in their formative years. Behind Winston Churchill’s perfection lay a history of failures. Abraham Lincoln got defeat after defeat before becoming the President of US who accomplished remarkably in abolishing slavery in his country.
By making a student walk the tightrope of tough time schedules, stressful assignments and anxiety ridden Counselling sessions, we not only rob the poor innocent souls of the fun of childhood or adolescence but also cause a permanent scar on their social, psychological and physical well-being. The present system leaves them no room to err. Error, however, is the backyard of perfection as it facilitates learning from the past mistakes which make us better and brighter individuals and also further ensure we may achieve academic excellence. That is why mistakes are often called the stepping stones to success.
Academic Managers and parents should understand that there are limits to the child’s elasticity – if they stretch it too far and too tight his elasticity would certainly snap. Expecting too much too soon is the bane of our competitive lives where no room is given for reflection and contentment.
After academics and in real practical life, it would not matter much which college one went to or how much one scored. Do we not at all know what qualities matter on the stage of life? All that goes into building one’s character or personality are acquired in the course of day to day life and not by scoring high marks in examinations.
It is high time that the youngsters are spared some time to laugh heartily and experience a sense of social, mental and physical well-being. Humour and laughter are the most essential. They are not only pleasure-provider but diagnostic and curative too. Norman Cousins, Editor of the Saturday Review for over 35 years, was diagnosed with a painful and progressively degenerative tissue disease. He was given one in five hundred chances of complete recovery and was told that he did not have long to live. Cousins moved out of the hospital, checked into a hotel and regularly, every day, watched comedies presented by the likes of the Marx Brothers, Laurel Hardy and Charlie Chaplin. He also watched episodes of Candid Camera for days together. He slowly recovered and returned to full time work. He wrote about how he laughed himself back to health in his memoirs “Anatomy of an Illness.”2 When he suffered a severe heart attack fifteen years later, an overdose of laughter saw him through. His related experiences are narrated in his book “The Heart Attack.”3
Life is too precious to be taken too seriously. Laugh at life and its twists and turns, follies and foibles; and also shortcomings and weaknesses. Child specialists say that Kindergarten children laugh at least three hundred times a day as against an adult hardly seventeen times. It is no laughing matter. Do not laugh it off. But laugh your way to health, and happiness; and ultimately to prosperity which will be ensured by the successes of a happy and contented life.
Parents especially the Academic Managers should realise the perils which lie in the process of achieving highest scores! Copying is a nuisance in academic institutions; and also while facing cut throat competitions is only due to this type of maddening craze. Instead the Academic Managers ought to change their mindset, amend their strategy and ought to go whole hog after their Swadharam of concept clearing drive so that the students could assimilate them well and utilise them practically. It will rather open up new vistas before them. Instead of having a tunnel-vision, they will have broad-vision about their surroundings and latter with the profession they are engaged in. They will thus be more successful. And that’s what the Academic Managers and parent wish.
Not only this, this high-achiever phenomenon turns them to wrong-doers. These days mass copying is another trend in which the students are neck deep submerged. No one can dare them. If anyone of his conscience tries to check it, either he is threatened or attacked. Is it the Indian education system which we used to be proud of? Negative and envious competition with better performers is another. Suicidal tendency is the third. Interest in materialistic gains (high marks) is the fourth. All this kill the students’ virtuous character and make him impious. Self-realisation process which is the main aim of education is completely blocked. Is it the object of education? “By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man – body, mind and spirit,” Gandhi had once envisaged. By putting the teenagers in uncomfortable situations like achieving maximum marks, we are not only killing their innocence but also infusing wickedness among them to gain more and more. In this hot pursuit they start chasing evil means to gain material gains. It kills their conscience. Makes them inhuman which goes a long way in criminalising their conduct in particular and the society in general.
How can we expect and ensure making of good citizens out of the students this way? The present scenario that we notice in youths today is the culmination of this materialistic rat race. And then we curse falling standards in character. Right education makes character; moulds conduct appropriately and shape the well-developed personality. But neither of the Academic Managers is concerned with this these days. They will have to reshape their strategies so that the nation is blessed with youths of high moral character.