THE death of E. Premkumar recently after failing his SPM examination is a dreadful episode. This is not the first time such a tragedy has occurred. Failure in an examination should not cause a student to end his life.
Unwarranted pressure and high expectations on the part of parents, the school and teachers can be cited as causes of such incidents. Society at large looks at examinations as a source of pride and honour for the family, school, Education Department and the Education Ministry.
There seems to be an academic rat race among students. After all, examinations are just part of the evaluation of the student's academic achievement.
Parents need to understand that examinations are not the only area of concern in education. Students should be taught to see education as wholesome. They must not study just to pass examinations. If a student has not passed his examination, does this mean he or she is not clever? Why ridicule the student for not passing ?
Parents should learn to accept their children as they are. Not everyone can score all As. It is demoralising for students when you compare one with another.
Scoring all As doesn't mean that the student will be successful in life. Straight A achievers are always appreciated and glorified, whereas non-achievers are not given any recognition or even acknowledgement from their parents, school and society at large.
The so-called low- and moderate-achievers also need appreciation for passing examinations. They also need motivation and assurance from all quarters. But, sad to say, this does not happen.
Perhaps, parents and teachers need to change their perception of education. We need to see education as wholesome. A student in his journey through schools and colleges should enjoy education, not mug and struggle to compete in a rat race with his counterparts. At the end of the day, education should mould a person to become better equipped to face the onslaught of life and succeed.
Let us all work together to do away with the stigma attached to examinations. Let our children learn to see examinations as just one facet of the education system.
We should not put undue pressure on children to the extent that they are psychologically disturbed. Show more love and compassion to children and prepare them to face exams positively.
By Dr S. Nathesan, Muar, Johor
Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 08 April 2012