A majority of children celebrated the news of cancellation of Class X Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board exams. It was quite natural for them, but their parents were happier still. The reason is they were not so optimistic about the worth of the year-long online classes and, in addition, they were haunted by the fear of risk Covid-19 posed to their wards.
But now the parents and children also have some doubts like, how are the students going to be assessed, what would be the criteria for admission to the next course or what if a student has to get transfer to another school and so on.
Meanwhile, there are many who are upset over losing their first chance to write the board exam. People also think if there is no exam, what is the difference between those who have studied well and those who haven't. They are worried that when these students go for higher studies, they might be branded as 'just passed without exam'.
Most parents and children decide on the next course of study based on the marks of the board exam. Thus, the absence of the exam may render such a choice difficult. There are also other issues: When marks are awarded through internal assessment, would that be fully impartial? Will teachers who do not like certain students reduce their marks too? If a school gives excessively high marks to students who they favour how can it be valued in the general assessment of merit?
However, it should be understood that one has to choose the area of further study based not merely on the final exam marks but on the student's interest, aptitude and performance in each subject. The personality of a student is another important aspect in career choice. For example, an introvert may be in trouble if he/she chooses a profession that requires continuous interaction with the public.
Sometimes, students who do not like science subjects are forced to opt them for higher studies simply because they have got high marks in those subject. It is wrong to assume that students will come to terms with the subjects in due course. This may lead to mental or psychological problems. Parents should realise that the course they choose for their wards now is going to impact their whole life.
As far as the Class X students are concerned, the summer holidays is the ideal time to do a self-analysis. Students can evaluate a handful of aspects such as how far has the year-long online classes been helpful in acquiring in-depth knowledge of the subjects, were they able to acquire adequate understanding of concepts of their chosen stream to pursue higher studies in it, was it possible to comprehend completely the classes taken by teachers and so on. There should be a conscious effort on the part of the students to make up for the lapses in understanding any subject. The vacation period can also be fruitfully utilised to study those lessons, which were omitted for examinations, as they might prove helpful for higher studies.
This is also the best time for a student to explore the right career options based on his or her taste and ability, gain an insight into them, focus on the possibilities and start preparing for the immediate future, that is plus two.
Tips for parents
» Engage in an open conversation with the child to know her tastes in the profession and their field of interest.
» It should be noted that no course of study can be branded as bad. The whole point is that you should excel in the subject you choose to pursue, and that would definitely open up a vista of possibilities. Similarly, selecting a much sought-after course won't do any good unless you don’t fare well consistently in the subject.
» Never discourage children’s career pursuits based on gender. For example, even today, we find people attributing gender stereotypes to the profession and passing negative comments when a girl expresses her desire to be a pilot, or when a boy expresses his wish to be a cook. It should be noted that career choices are to be made based on one’s ability and aptitude and not on gender.
» It is not necessary for students to have a genuine interest in subjects which they score well. There are industrious students who get good grades even in subjects they do not like. An aptitude for a subject can be determined by a student’s genuine interest in the topic where he or she can score good marks without stress.
» Ensure that children make their choices based on their own ability, intelligence and personality and not on the advice of parents, friends or others.
» Create opportunities for the students to learn and gain a sound understanding of the courses of their interests, and motivate them to work towards the goal.
» Even today, there is the traditional notion that youths who opt for the Science stream are smarter than those who opt for Humanities or Commerce subjects. This is the main reason why society looks down upon a high school top scorer if he or she prefers to take the Arts stream.
This could be due to the ignorance prevailing in society about the wide range of opportunities guaranteed in ‘non-science’ sectors. People have the feeling that high pay and status are not attached to other jobs. Of late, there has been a positive trend of rank-holders and top scorers in high school making a beeline for humanities subjects. This would indeed bring about a change in the mindset of people.
We need not only qualified doctors or engineers, but also brilliant teachers, economists and clerks. Similarly, one should understand that the key to success is not just high salaried jobs. For, there are countless examples of unhappy individuals who had to spend their entire life working without any job satisfaction.
There is a huge difference between managing to get a pass mark in a subject that you are not quite fond of, and enjoying a course of your passion and coming out in flying colours. Hence, it is important to make wise decisions while choosing the stream for higher studies. In case of confusion, don’t forget to take the help of psychologists or career guidance experts.
(Ganga Kailas is a consultant psychologist based in Alappuzha.)