Marks: making or claiming lives?

When the Board results were declared, several Delhi students committed suicide. But marks are just a number and not necessarily a marker of success or failure in life

For scoring 52% in his boards, Sanjay Rajoura was beaten up by his father and forced to reappear for his exams. The entire effort resulted with him getting just ten per cent more, yet marks did not determine his future. Now a stand-up comedian, he is quite a hit among audiences for his unconventional and unique take on real life stories.

With the recently declared CBSE results, reportedly three students from Delhi committed suicide, disappointed with their performance. While one of them died after hanging herself from the ceiling fan, the other committed suicide by hanging himself from the door frame. The third student slashed her wrists and hung herself from a ceiling fan. “She feared she would not get admission to the Science stream in Class XI,” said one of the parents of the deceased.

Sanjay Rajoura performing at his shows

Sanjay can still recall the pressure from his parents during boards back in his school days. “Some parents invest in a child’s education as if it’s mutual funds. They expect that after some time it will give certain returns,” he says. Explaining that marks cannot be equated with knowledge, he wants kids to understand that nobody can judge them on what knowledge they have.

After failing his class 12 board exams this year, Arnab Goyal went missing from home. He tore apart his marksheet before leaving. Arnab is still missing.

“Marks is just a number, it’s the skills that we pick up during our school life that takes us far in life,” says Arti Jha, Principal of Indirapuram Public School. Scoring average marks in her boards she never let her scores demoralise her. She attributes her success to her debating skills and urge for learning in class. “My strength is public speaking and it has helped me grow as a teacher.” Her teachers knew her for her inclination towards sports and expected her to do nothing more than playing. Even today when they come to know that she is leading a school it’s quite a surprise for them, “not a pleasant one” she adds laughing.

Arti urges her students to learn how to handle failure. In her experience, she states that the children are scared to explore their options. They are not aware of what they are capable of and lets marks dictate their career. Moreover, children lack proper understanding of a subject. “It’s not learning. It’s just mugging up the books and vomiting them during the examinations,” she says.

Not being able to handle the pressure of surviving the rat race for securing a job, several students takes the drastic step of ending their lives. Last year 12 students from Madhya Pradesh took their lives and three others attempted suicide, upset with their grades. Unable to cope with stress three students from Odisha and two more from Jaipur ended their lives. According to the latest data published by the National Crime Records Bureau, 8,934 students had committed suicide in 2015 and the numbers have increased substantially over the years. This also brings out an alarming ratio that in every hour one student commits suicide in India.

Arti Jha, the principal of Indirapuram Public School, attributes her success not to her marks but to her skills of public speaking

Emphasising that marks aren’t the end of the world, Anjali, copy writer at an ad agency recounts her experience with bad marks. After flunking class 12, she decided to drop out of school and completed her board examination as a private candidate. Scoring fairly well she completed her graduations and followed her passion for writing. “For the moment, it seems like everything is crashing around you but it doesn’t matter in the long run. Ultimately, no one asks for your board results, it’s your work that speaks,” she says.

The topper of CBSE class 12 this year, Meghna Srivastava also believes that marks isn’t the be-all and end-all. According to her, marks pave the way to a good college but it doesn’t ensure a secured life after that. “What happens after college? Do marks even matter after that?” she questions.
Sumedh Natu, co-founder of Shotgun Media, however, believes that marks are to a certain level important. “It’s not that marks necessarily matter in life, but it’s the discipline and dedication to score good that indicates how hard you can work,” he says.

Surely, one cannot dismiss the importance of marks completely. It is an integral part of an education system. However, it does not necessarily impact a person’s future. “It’s nothing other than your passion and hard work, which determines where you end up in life. Marks can never dictate your future and it is definitely not worth someone’s life,” concludes Arti.

As Albert Einstein said,“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”

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