The government of India cancelled school and board exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An event considered indispensable, an event having 24*7 influences on the psyche of the students and the parents, an event bigger than education itself – Exams were cancelled. Imagine!!! Now, this leads to another idea – Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams.
It might seem outrageous and shocking. Exams to be cancelled!! And the parent’s right to cancel exams!! Well, after a certain age of 12-14 years, the students should have the right to cancel exams too. One might ask – Why and What for? One might answer – Why Not and What Not for.
Did anyone ever have the wildest dream that exams would be cancelled and students would be just fine? Of course, it doesn’t mean that because exams were cancelled once, they need to be cancelled again. However, it does mean that whatever was once considered sacrosanct and essential can be questioned and scrutinized. There is absolutely no need to carry past baggage just for the sake of it.
Parents To Decide What Is Learning For Their Children
Everyone agrees that learning is the most important aspect of growing up for a child. Now, it so happens that learning is imbibed in multiple ways and it also manifests in numerous forms. It has to be up to the parents to decide what learning means to them, how they interpret it for their children and in what form/manner they want it for their kids.
Some parents would want to opt for JEE/NEET and the sorts. Some parents would want their children to focus on studies but without the burden of future expectations. Few parents might want their kids to enjoy their childhood as a priority. Now, if the objectives are different, exams too should have different formats. Also, at times, no format, no exams. A format in itself.
Learning happens for every child but at a varied pace with diverse comprehension. Exams are too lazy an attempt designed by inept adults with no customization built-in for each unique child and her/his distinctive application of learning. If each child learns differently, the child also needs to be assessed differently. Also, at times, no assessment, no exams. An assessment in itself.
The parent knows his/her child best, what works for the kid and what can lead the child to perform. Now, if this is the case, they should have the decision-making power if they want their kid to go through the experience of exams, the age at which the kid should give exams and the flexibility to opt-in/opt-out too.
Children’s Mental Health Issues
Nowadays, even children are falling victim to anxiety and depression. Of the multiple reasons, the one that is right at the top is exams. Children get initiated into the rat race fairly early in their lives. Why and what for? Exams. Children start feeling burnt out even before stepping into their youth. The prime reason is exams.
The adults might say that exams have been there since time immemorial and all the children who went through the routine are doing fine. So, what’s the fuss? An answer: Their doing fine is no yardstick. Also, they feel that they are doing fine. There is no guarantee they are actually fine. They might not even know what they missed out on and what they might have become if not for exams.
With all the expectations and the prevalent norms, children mature quite early. If they realize and feel that they need a break, they might as well take a break. And, there is nothing to take a break from other than exams. Adults might scoff at the idea of 12-14 years old deciding for themselves. It may not be optimal, but it is no worse than the education establishment screwing them up for life.
If we expect 12-14 years old to prepare for an entrance exam that is another 2-4 years away, why can’t we expect them to decide on an exam they are giving now? Going forward, mental health issues are going to be of paramount importance. It is better that they get addressed in their initial stages, read exams, rather than grappling with them all through life.
Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams
The Government and the education establishment will say that parent’s right to cancel exams will lead to anarchy. There will be utter disorder and confusion. This will be detrimental to the child’s learning.
For one, the unhealthy and single-minded focus on exams themselves is detrimental to the well-being of the child, leaving aside learning. For second, nothing has ever stopped them from coming up with viable alternatives to the redundant exams. They might as well do now. It is time for the patronizing Government and the self-absorbed education establishment to get a shake-up.
COVID-19 has led to destroying many of the beliefs that we thought were central to our existence. Online learning and cancellation of school and board exams are a couple of such instances. We will be doing a great service to our children’s future by taking it a step further – Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams.
What are your views on the subject?
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.