Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to handle examination-related stress and fear among students

Another girl has tried to end her life, frustrated over her school examination tribulations. This happened in front of The Goa University Vice-Chancellor yesterday. The V-C declared the examination the students took null and void, as they didn't have the requisite attendance in classes.

Attendance issue is a common problem. But if the way the problem has been handled has led to a student trying to commit suicide, then there is something drastically wrong in the way in the whole manner the issue was handled.

It is not the first time, that students have attempted suicide. Mostly it relates to poor performance or fear of examination.

According to this news item in Huffington Post earlier this month, 57 young students have taken their lives on Kota. That is the city in Rajasthan which is renowned for the private education centres that coach students who are preparing for various competitive examinations in order to get into prestigious institutions like IIT, IIM etc.

Here is another news item from May 2008, which says that exam pressure is leading students to commit suicide.

Hopefully the one that happened in Goa will be the last.

Examinations, especially in school, are notorious for the amount of stress they give not only for the student but also for the parents, who take leave from office when their children have examinations.

I am not trying to argue that parents need not bother about their children's academic performance or they should just turn a blind eye when kids get very low scores.

What is driving mad these children is not the examination but the amount of pressure parents, relatives and the immediate friends' circle puts on them.

They all should help children rather than torment them. For example, if kids aren't interested in studies, parents should explore ways to get them interested. And also tell them, nicely but firmly, that studies and examinations are important, and shouldn't be ignored.

Parents should not force children to get high marks. Different children are endowed with different capabilities. Every parent should know their children very well.

High marks are good. But if a child doesn't get high marks, that doesn't mean that her future is doomed. Most parents, wrongly and with disastrous consequences, convey that view.

If children get low marks, parents, instead of shouting and screaming at them, should be with them, helping them out. Tell them, "You have done your best. It's not the end of the world. We shall see where and why you lost marks. We will make up, and show everyone, that I am able to get good marks."

If parents think that they aren't able to handle the situation, they must reach out people who can assist them. There are plenty of professional counsellors who can help. Sometimes, children tend to listen to what some others say rather than what their own parents say.

Let us hope that this alarming trend tapers, and finally no child ever has to take her or his life because of examinations.

1 comment:

  1. I was recently part of a school councelling program, we encouraged kids to tell us what THEY wanted to become, and then ask us any question they had. We were amazed at the amount of kids who were just aiming at IIT without even having a clue at what they wanted to do there. It was clear that parents were the one pushing them to that path for the prestige without an ounce of a care about what their child was passionate about or where their strength were.

    Many of these kids were absolutely amazed when my colleague and I would just urge them to expand their interests, hone their passion and develop a curious mind, we were talking about class X to XII students.

    We also had many questions going along the line of "How do I cope with stress" or "How to get more confident" which led me to think that parents putting insane pressure and allowing their children to do nothing but study 100%. of their free time is one problem, but schools are equally guilty by not having a trained staff to teach kids relaxation techniques and alternative learning methods.

    We did our best to inform the kids about the 80/20 methods that calls for 80% study time, and 20% fun time. Sadly most kids had no idea what fun time was or even the fact that disconnecting for 15-20 minutes in one hour of study to relax their mind would make them better learner.

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