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All work, no play makes Jack a topper

80% of Indian kids are obsessed with achieving top ranks, even if it means having less free time, reveals a survey.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 12:35 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But more than 80 per cent Jacks in India don't mind being overworked and all that matters to them is achieving top ranks in schools.

A new survey conducted throughout the country has found that for more than 80 per cent of kids (7-14 years) across India, achieving the top rank is important even if it means having less free time.

Kolkata tops the chart with nearly 97 per cent children feeling the same, followed by 95 per cent in Nasik and 93 per cent in Cochin.

However, for only 67 per cent children in Delhi, achieving top grades was a priority, according to the survey conducted by Cartoon Network across 14 cities in India.

"Nearly nine out of 10 kids feel studying takes up too much of their time, yet about the same proportion are willing to sacrifice free time to better their grades," the survey notes.

"It is in India only that so much focus is given on achieving good marks. Things are different outside. But the scenario is fast changing and grading system has been introduced till Class tenth level, which will make quite a lot of difference," says HG Pant, Principal, Apeejay School.

However, in order to change the mindset of children, parents need to change. They should not put unnecessary pressure on children. This change has to come," says Pant.

Agreeing, Kusum Jain of Parents Forum for Meaningful Education, an NGO, says "while a large number of schools have introduced grades, parents continue to pressurise the schools asking them for ranks."

"Knowledge is a continuous process and a child's learning abilities cannot be judged by the marks achieved in the class," she says.

"Teachers also have to be trained in giving grades. They try to literally translate marks into grades, which is not a very healthy practice. Grading should mean continuous evaluation throughout the year," says Jain.

"Students will continue to be under pressure to cram the subject, till the whole system changes. Introducing grades in few classes will not help. When a student sits for competitive exams, the pre-requisite for entrance is a fixed percentage not grades," says Arpreet Aneja, a Vice Principal with a public school.

The survey also notes that nearly 95 per cent of kids in Kolkata believe it is difficult to score good marks without tuitions and extra classes, followed by 65 per cent in Bangalore, 60 per cent in Mumbai and 38 per cent in Delhi.

"The choice of tuition has nothing to do with quality of education. It is just a set mindset that some subjects are perceived to be difficult and so parents send their children to tuitions," says psychiatrist Samir Parikh.

"Tuitions should not be encouraged. Infact, the experience shows that brightest students don't go in tuitions," says Pant noting "if the child concentrates fully in the class, there is no need for tuitions."

First Published: Apr 12, 2006 11:48 IST

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