Earlier, I focussed on parents and peers for putting pressure.
One respondent talked about the professors vacillating between academic probity, their institute’s academic reputation, the professor’s professional reputation of being a hard task master and his personal reputation if blamed for the untoward incident. Someone recommended professors making judgemental call on grades based on potential psychological impact, not on objective academic criteria.
While we are at it, let us not forget to blame society, the education system etc. Ultimately, we will do nothing as we cannot take on the system.
When Kapil Sibal took on AICTE and tried to change the CBSE to give only Std 12 board exams (making std 10 optional or locally corrected instead of by the Board), there was a hue and cry from all affected parties.
- The parents said that their children will have no experience in giving competitive exams. They also said that teachers now have more power as they determine a portion of the final grades and this will create a misuse of their power; that we were now following the American system and look what has happened to America; that they will now have to help their children with the projects at home instead of watching TV which is their birthright after returning from office.
- The teachers objected saying that because of continuous evaluation, their work load will increase. They do not want to do corrections locally.
- The children revolted saying that earlier they had to do tuitions and study only for the board exams, now they will also have to study the whole year, listen to the teachers, attend classes…essentially foregoing their birthright of bunking classes.
If you look at the common factor, it is fear.
- Parents transmit their fear of taking care in old age, not having enough money, starvation etc. Therefore they instil the spirit of competition. Parents have their own fear of their position in society and loss of bragging rights
- Peers feed on the fear of not belonging as well as not allowing others to get ahead
- Children have a fear of self esteem also assimilate the parents and peer’s fears
- Professors have a fear of being blamed and the impact on their career
- Educational Institutes have a fear on one side of diluting the academic integrity and on the other side of the PR impact. (Maybe, they should put statutory warnings during the ‘welcome to the cream of the cream of country’ speech at orientation that ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’ or ‘we are not responsible for peer pressure, the grades and how you mind perceives both of them’)
- We have the fear of the unknown; and of change in status quo and our intention of mitigating that fear by having a nest egg, a proper education, job etc…
And then we have Mr. Tagore talking about India, ‘where the mind is without fear’
- Most of what we fear does not happen but the mind imagines the worst.
- Does it not boil down to having the courage to face our fears, and to control our mind of negative thoughts?
- I find that most successful people have this ability to not succumb to negative emotions and the ability to change the status quo. Look at the sales guys, they bounce back after so much rejection!
- If any counselling has to be done, it has to be towards managing self and our fears – not to erase the fears (which we can’t) but to manage them. Also to manage relationships and change, and what I call “emotional resilience”
- Can we as alumni teach them this? What is the benefit of our experience if we cannot tell the students about our fears, and what happens in reality?
- Can we as parents change our conditioning and try not to inculcate our values on our children?
- Why are we trying this systemic change, the big bang approach, where we have power only to influence a small section of society – the family. Can we start a chain reaction, slow but more permanent?