We are not new to news reports about students taking extreme steps by hurting themselves, in some cases, even ending their lives because they cannot cope with the pressure of their studies. The beginning of this week witnessed one such tragic incident where a 15-year-old ended her life sending shock waves not only to parents and students, but also to the entire academics.
Every time when we hear about a student ending his/her life, the cause is attributed to be pressure from parents, teachers or even the peers. Definitely yes, many students succumb to very high amount of pressure, especially from their family and teachers in terms of their career choices and studies.
This compelling need becomes a humiliation when they are publicly chided. This kind of pressure, aimed at goading them into becoming all-rounders, often ends as children turn to be failures rather than becoming role models. A recent post by a 13-year-old points to the awful situation that the children confront during their school life.
The teen wrote with much agony, “My mum insists that I need to spend more time in my studies at home to enable me to get a good job. Even though I improved my grades in the last exam, my mom is still disappointed. What shall I do, I can’t see my mom’s furious face. I definitely feel a lot of pressure”.
Modern society is a very competitive. It’s natural that all parents want to bring out the best in their children. They want their children to be top not only in the class, but also in the school, if possible, at state level. Some parents even put pressure on kids to perform well in sports, music, or any other activity that involves a competition.
But what the parents often forget to remember is the fact that when they put so much expectations on their wards, good intentions go astray. For many parents, it’s a prestige issue that their children score high in the exams. And children are expected to score high in order to make their parents proud.
When students don’t meet their parents’ expectations, it creates a sense of worthlessness, which was discovered to be one of the chief reasons why teenage suicide rates increased manifold from the 1950s. According to a recent report published by The Sun, a study of 1,000 parents and 1,000 children in school years from 1 to 11 found one in five households was under the so-called strain due to the ever-increasing burden of homework.
Over half of respondents said a child’s homework is regularly the centre of conversations in their house and 62 per cent of mums and dads admitted they put their child’s work before their own.
Colin Hughes, managing director of Collins, leading publisher of school books, which conducted the study said, “We know that parents are passionate about their children thriving at school”.
This passion can translate into parents feeling under significant amounts of pressure and finally passed on to their children. Is it all happening because that our education system is not supporting the children in accordance with their likes? According to Andy Powell, CEO of independent education foundation Edge, we need an education system that excites and stimulates children, providing them with the learning they need — and deserve — to fulfil their potential.
This need for change has never been more pressing. It is not due to the fault of any individual, any school or any other authority but due to the simple fact the world has changed — and our education system has not changed fast enough.
“We must recognise that young people are individuals with different talents and dreams. As such, not all children learn in the same way. We need to move towards a system of mass customisation, based on a strong common core of essential skills and knowledge, which allows young people to develop their own particular talents and aspirations,” he says.
We must support young people in discovering what they enjoy and are good at — and who they want to be in life. And we must encourage and support teachers and schools in responding to these different needs. Young people will learn if they see learning as important, meaningful and worthwhile.
While a secure and happy family environment is considered a bare necessity for healthy growth and development, there is a fine line between caring and caring too much. Parental pressure has led to the most horrible scenarios.