There! It's that time of the year again. The annual obsession with marks and ranks has begun. So has the rat race to the state's top colleges. All this hype and hoopla regarding the marks set me thinking. What exactly do parents want out of their children? Just marks and grades? Are they honestly not bothered about how well they are learning their stuff? In the frenzy of getting marks, are students not forgetting the reason they are going to school? In case nobody remembers, it is to acquire a well-rounded personality. What is the use in getting an unholy 99% if you can't make yourself a cup of coffee or talk intelligently of the IPL? I honestly believe that the gender of the child notwithstanding, they must be taught some basic survival skills. Making some coffee, going out to a supermarket to pick up provisions, buying their own books and CDs...these are just some of them. Nobody is going to do all this for them all their lives. Versatility is a quality that only gets rarer by the day. It is indeed a sad state of affairs.
That said, on to my next rant. I can't understand why engineering is considered the only thing "worth" studying. A cousin actually cried three hours after she got her Class XII results because she had not got "good" marks. A Times of India article reported the state second rank holder cried all day because she missed the first rank by a mark instead of rejoicing that she came second. I mean...what the hell? What are we teaching our kids? The afore-mentioned cousin still insists she will only do IT or ECE engineering because they are the only professions that "pay". Whatever happened to good old-fashioned passion for something? When did education become a low-risk, high-return investment option? It makes me scream when I see sane, healthy 17-year olds behave as if there was no tomorrow on the day of their exam results. Get one mark less than expected and they act as if the sky is going to come tumbling down. My cousin insists her parents must pay a whopping capitation fee to get her into the IT course she wants. If I were a parent, I would tell her to go to hell. I only hope I manage to retain this sanity when I am the mother of a 17-year old.