Education does not assure anyone of success in life; whatever may be the grades achieved. It generally happens that those, who put much effort & expect the moon from education, are more disappointed than the average student. The former is more burnt-out, unable to take set-backs and proves less of a team player; of course, there are exceptions! Then again, the more educated seem to have less entrepreneurial flair. They are afraid to make mistakes, having to safeguard their track record & status! Earlier times, government job was the choice, slowly rising in ranks till the final bliss, retirement and pension!
Now times have changed, of course; for the better? The jury is still out! I have observed, especially in Asian societies, the full thrust of grades as the be-all and end-all of education! Nothing else seems to matter! Those who are toppers are envied and held as role models; but most achieve that rank by undivided devotion to studies with the sole aim of besting others. The subjects the kids take are not guided by aptitudes, but by herd-mentality; those that carry prestige, especially, in the eyes of society! Pity the kids; they are forced into a pressure-cooker atmosphere and some find themselves as square pegs in round holes, desperately trying to fit-in and meet the sky-high expectations of their parents. The sacrifices made by their parents make the pressure all the more on the kids.
The choices of subjects are decided by whatever is supposed to be the most rewarding in terms of returns on investments made, apart from the prestige factor. But soon, success turns out to be a mirage! Demand & supply play tricks when the time for reckoning arrives. Only few are really rewarded with plum openings; with others made to feel like losers! The unhappiness in the society is palpable, with more losers than winners!
Can we not take a more benevolent approach to education and educate those who blindly believe that good grades assure life-long success and happiness? Of course, the answer to that will be how to tailor a better system to meet the expectations of society. And also, why encourage slackers, who find it difficult to buck-up later in life. But then, why have a system to label most as losers at such a young age, and also make the parents feel likewise, in some societies? The famous words of Shakespeare come to mind “there is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”. Encourage the young to pause and reflect on such beautiful, wise words of wisdom to ignite the sparks in their lives. Let us leave virgin areas, untouched and unspoiled, for them to find their own destiny.
The trick is to convince the die-hards that there is also life on the other side, than by mindless aping of few. I have personally seen some pursuing studies with a vengeance, despite not having their heart on the subjects & finally making an about-turn after reaching the summit! Though they find consolation at the thought that education is never a waste; does not the society lose talent by denying others the chance to pursue such subjects? The increasing trend of universities of repute extending their tentacles across the nook and corner of the world raises the bar and also nets the gullible!
It is matter of time before the society learns the consequences of following the Pied Piper of Hamelin blindly! The mad rush has to be tempered and the innocent children saved; and their childhood restored as a matter of their birth-right! They can imbibe the best at anytime, with modern tools getting better by the day! Rather than worry over few years of childhood by hot-housing them, let us reflect on the consequences; a lifetime of waste & bitterness by over-exuberance of the parents and society in general. Some societies have to sober down and leave the flowers to bloom in their own time; not unlike bananas forced to ripen just to reach the market earlier; another instance of playing with nature. Life is not a zero sum game; all can find meaningful roles and play their part, even some slackers to add to the spice!