Schools tend to place a high value on school results. Famous Scottish politician Johann Lamont once said: “Schools are not exam factories for the rat race.”
I couldn’t agree more. There are myriad programmes to achieve the target and fulfil the Key Performance Indicators of the schools.
The planned programmes are so intense and packed. Teachers have to toil hard to deliver exam tips and inputs.
The pertinent question is, if the student scores As in the exam, does that mean he is a genius?
Life is so competitive. Some parents like to compare their children’s school results with others. What are they trying to prove? Doesn’t every child possess a unique trait and character?
I have seen teenagers struggling to study and confining themselves to the room just to please their parents’ dream of seeing them scoring As .
These teenage students do not know anything else about the world apart from the facts and figures in the textbooks.
When it comes to language learning, many think memorising facts in the textbook is sufficient for the exam.
When I had a conversation with the students, they barely spoke grammatically correct sentences and their vocabulary is very limited.
A teacher of language learning, be it Bahasa Malaysia or English, has to read extensively. Language has to be acquired, but not by memorising.
I asked famous writer Uthaya Sankar S.B. the secret of his ability to write in Bahasa Malaysia and English.
He eloquently told me that his passion for reading is the ultimate secret for his successful career and he managed to carve a name in the writing industry.
I admire his ability to speak and write in BM.
In the nutshell, reading is a habit and students should practise it as part of life.
Some of my former students shared with me the predicaments and ordeals that they went through to achieve good results.
Now, they are in medical schools abroad.
But, they have lost the fun of childhood at the expense of studies. They are full of regret.
Some parents engage home tutors to coach their children.
Of course, this will cost money but as long as their children score high marks, it is fine for them. Isn’t childhood supposed to be balanced?
Don’t you think children need to connect with nature? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Just imagine sitting and reading most of the time without going out.
Agitation, anger and irritation may creep in and this will affect the health.
Looking back on my childhood, I realised that my friends and I were well connected to nature. No rules had to be followed.
We watched television, listened to songs, plucked fruits, rode bicycles and went jungle trekking.
Life was so much freer. I don’t recall my parents being stressed out by my results. Neither were they ashamed of our results.
But, now, the paper chase and unrealistic expectations loom over every student’s life. This is a new ball game altogether.
And, this trend is frightening, too. Parents should realise that some children are late bloomers.
They may shine in their unhurried and self-nurtured ways. Comparing and forcing children to focus solely on their studies may rob them of their childhood.
Don’t turn the “academic heat” on them. We have slowly created a robotic life for a child to follow, to comply with a strict timetable even before he starts seeing the real world.
Are we being fair to them? Aren’t real success and achievements shaped by pure love, affection and freedom? Sumati Muniandy, NST Opinion You Write 18 OCTOBER 2016 @ 11:00 AM