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Taking Responsibility

Last week, there were two incidents that caught my attention. One was the SRCC cut off being 100% which prompted a cartoon in The Hindu where a father has in his hand, his son's mark sheet that says "99%" and is shouting at his son saying "By the time you are old enough to apply for colleges, the cut off will be 110%!" and the other was that of rise in students committing suicides blaming their poor results in exams. As expected, there was a reaction to both from the Government. To the former, it was said that a 100% cut off was a national shame and that the question papers must be made tougher. On the very next day, the same government reacted to the latter saying there is a move in place to bring down the difficulty level of the question papers in order to ensure lesser pressure on students and to help more students pass their exams.

There are two things that come out of this that I wish to draw your attention to. First, the emphasis on end results that parents put on students. Why will a student, a kid about 15 years old, commit suicide after finding out that he has fared poorly in his exams? It is fear. It is a fear of being humiliated, a fear of the reaction that he expects from his parents. It is not just those who fare poorly. Even those who have scored 99% missed out on admission to SRCC. This importance associated to the results of one exam is simply overwhelming.
Today is the day we all thank God for giving us the father who has played a big part in helping us build an identity and a personality of our own. But, it is also the day the fathers understood that their children will have innumerable opportunities in their lives. It is their duty to help their kids in identifying those opportunities, and not to create a sense of abject fear of failure in their minds instead.
Forgive the extended use of lines from the Batman movies, but this seemed the most appropriate on Father's Day. Thomas Wayne (to a young Bruce, in "Batman Begins"): "Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
This, to me, is the foremost duty of a father when it comes to aiding the intellectual development of his kid. To build a sense of acceptance, understanding, and a fighting spirit. If every father, every parent, did this, there would be no kids committing suicide after finding out their exam results. It is not the education system that is to blame, but the attitude of the parents and the society in general. If this is understood by the parents, the kids of our country will grow up to be better people.

Second, the attitude of the government. It reacts to incidents on a stand-alone basis as though they are unconnected and often put across contradictory views, as I have pointed out in this case. When the citizens are failing on their own, the government needs to take initiative to set things right. The government is neither mature nor strong enough to take a firm stand and analyse and address a sensitive issue like this. They go on and blame the education system, which is not at fault here.

The government needs to step up and the parents need to be more mature. It is their responsibility to secure a bright future for their children. In short, the children of our country need good mentors and role models to create a conducive environment for them to realise their fullest potential.

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