By Ata ur Rehman
The system of education in most countries is based on grading. Students who are sharp in learning show excellent results in grading and they are always appreciated by teachers and parents.
Usually students have to work hard throughout the academics in order to show good results in exams. The question is does the hard work affects the health and social life of students? My answer is definitely, yes!
Human beings are social animal; usually we like to live in social gathering of friends, family members and colleagues but due to the prevailing education system students do not have much time for their social life and healthy activities such as sports, visits and entertainment. In order to get good grades and distinctions in class students are working hard not only in their school timings but also in homes or hostels. Even they do not have time to take proper meal. As a result their mental and physical health affected due to which they become weak and their immunity system is also affected badly.
When a student fails to get good marks in grading what will be the result after it? The answer is stress, phobia, drug addiction, escapism, and even some times suicides. These factors had deep effect on the life ahead. I am a teacher by profession and having the experience of close relation with my students. I am teaching in a small but beautiful valley of Chitral, Pakistan, where most of students belong to poor family backgrounds. I am sharing my personal observation. One of my students failed in SSC examination and consequently he quit the school. I visited his home several times to persuade him towards studies again but all my efforts went in vain. He never liked to study again and became drug addict.
Another example from the 2017, two female students in Chitral committed suicide after getting low grades in the examination of grade 11 and 12. One of the female students jumped into the river of Chitral and her dead body was recovered after one month’s struggle and search. The other student swallowed poison, her parents immediately admitted her to hospital but doctors could not be able to save her life and she died. These are not the stories from a novel or book but happened in real life. Their parents can feel the pain and grief of the loss of their beloved children.
Recently, we came across through different social media tools and newspapers that about six students committed suicide after the declaration of HSSC result. Question is who else responsible for this act. No doubt this is all due to the huge mental pressure on students and demand of high marks everywhere. Our system is based on quantity, here number counts rather than the quality. So we have to review our examination and assessment system. There should be one compulsory period in each educational institution for individual mentoring of students to peruse them and guide them towards practical life.
Last year I was in USA to pursue my Teaching Excellence Program from University of Colorado. We visited different schools and colleges there and closely observed their educational system. There the assessment system is based on whole academic year which includes all the activities students do during their academic year like their participation in sports, co-curricular activities, social work and volunteer services.
Although grading is indispensable part of assessment process but there should be a midway for both the social life of the students and their academic preparation. The grading system should be labeled as a motivation for improvement rather than just a tag of discouragement and disappointment for student. Our system of education should be based on research and practical work experience rather than only grading.Human beings are not machine beings. In order to promote society and cultural norms students should be encouraged to take part in healthy and thought provoking academic activities throughout the year like debate, quiz programs, portfolios, assignments, sports, voluntarism and visits.
By Ata ur Rehman