Recently, a gifted young boy, Hunain Zia, scored an accumulative of 42 A’s in O/A Levels and IGCSEs. It’s a remarkable achievement. One that not many can boast of even being able to achieve. But this race toward accumulating all these A’s leads one to wonder what’s wrong. Over the course of the past few years, we’ve seen education in Pakistan take another turn altogether. Back when I was taking my GCSEs, anything above 5 As would ascertain the fact that you’re a genius.
I don’t know where we went wrong, but in today’s day and age, even 8 As don’t suffice the needs of parents and the society.
I say 8 As because that was the minimum amount of subjects one could take and anyone who opted for even one more course would be considered an absolute genius. I remember a friend of mine was in the habit of studying so much that she used to get a migraine that would last for days. And she just had 9 O Levels. When I look at kids today, I wonder what goes through their minds when they’re running in the race to see who can take up more subjects and ace them all.
But that’s not okay.
Students and parents alike need to understand the fact that GCSEs are not the only time they’ll be faced with an obstacle that they need to overcome, or exceed.
What they also don’t seem to understand is the fact that there will be a lot more instances in their lives where they will need to put in everything they have, that there will be times where they will need to put in extra hours and money. And this just isn’t worth it.
Now don’t get me wrong. Achieving so many As is a great personal achievement. But it stops being just a personal achievement and starts being a matter of slight concern when other parents jump in and expect their children to do the same, as well. And then, at the end of the day, when your child, who excels at football, can’t score higher than 75% on his exams, he’s suddenly a horrible kid who’s wasting your money.
Moreover, once a child does achieve something unique, everyone puts so much pressure on them to perform well for the rest of their lives
There’s pressure to make a name for themselves, and basically no matter what the child does, later, is good enough, because iss mein tau aur bhi kitni potential ho ga, na.
Attaching such unrealistic expectations to your children not only makes them face undue pressure, but also alienation and isolation in a lot of cases. They leave behind a very big part of their lives to focus on studies, and needless to say, they miss out on a lot. On their quest to becoming book smart, they forego countless learning opportunities, outside of books. In a lot of cases, children who are only studying all the time tend to not have a lot of friends, they are shunned away from groups of friends. Children end up disliking that one kid who always knows everything.
Being smart is good. But this is sheer impracticality to expect or want everyone to be it.
If you see that your child is a genius or is particularly smart in a particular subject, please nurture that subject the most and don’t pressurize them to be the best at everything else, as well
Allow them to exercise that genius in other paths of life, too. Don’t force, and definitely don’t allow, them to take part in this horrid, horrid rat race that we have going on in this society, currently. It’s okay if your child wants to go play football or cricket or wants to paint the whole town, the only way you’ll be able to salvage his sanity would be to let him.
It’s okay if people like Ali Moeen Nawazish and Hunain Zia have outdone most of the world in terms of the grades that they raked in. There is a reason why there’s only a handful of them; it’s a very rare gift to have and even rarer to follow through with.
The way education in Pakistan works these days, you’re only pushing your kids into a vicious cycle that will completely consume them all through to A Levels.
The education sector, both private and public, has become a business and money-making scheme for everyone involved that somewhere along the way, providing quality education to children starts coming second, if not lower. Preparatory schools now charge more that Rs 20,000 per child. Schools are even higher. Tuition centers are anyway a multi-million rupee business. The aim, it seems, is to drain children of their mental and thinking capabilities, and for parents to deplete their salaries and savings in trying to educate their children.
It certainly isn’t bad that a child is an A grader but if one isn’t, there should be no pressure on them to become one. This khichdi that we cook and put in front of them will only lead them down one path and it won’t be a very nice one.