Good Grades Don’t Guarantee Success: What Indian Education System Needs To Learn
The high importance attested to good grades, in India, gives rise to the idea that memorization and rote-learning is more rewarding. However, this kind of learning leads to zero to negligible learning of skills which lead to innovation and out of the box discoveries.
The result season is almost over. Students are now fretting over their marks and what career to pursue based on the marks they have scored. India seems to be obsessed with the idea of marks and percentage. No wonder, every result season, social media is rampant with jokes about distant relatives suddenly waking up from their slumber only to know your marks. In India, academic success is mostly associated with marks. But is it the right approach and does scoring more ensures a successful career?
Forbes recently published an article wherein it quoted Eric Barker whose book ‘Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong’ which was released recently. Eric Barker, in an excerpt from his book, wrote for Times, that students who graduate with top grades from high school do well but rarely rise to their full potential and contribute any path-breaking innovation or paradigm shift in the society.
The hypothesis holds true for Indian education system as well, where students who abide by the rules are rewarded leaving little scope for thinking out of the box.
The Forbes article quotes Eric Barker, “So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules. The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise.”
An article on Grades on the Cambridge University’s ‘The Success-Failure Project’ website cites Boston University Professor Ellen Ruppel Shell saying, “GPA is a noisome construct, and misleading. . . an indication of far less than we believe it to be.”
The high importance attested to good grades, in India, gives rise to the idea that memorization and rote-learning is more rewarding. However, this kind of learning leads to zero to negligible learning of skills which lead to innovation and out of the box discoveries. Add to this the social stigma attached with low marks and with studying certain disciplines such as humanities as opposed to highly valued courses such as engineering and the students in the age group of 18-25 in India have a hard time coping with academic pressure.
As per the statistics released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for the year 2015, almost 8952 students committed suicide in India. Of the total suicides in India in 2015, 2% of the total was cited as due to failure in examination. The pressure to do well in examination or perform well academically is often times too much for students. The cases of depression among students have also been on a rise in India.
India certainly needs to asses it’s preference for good grades if not for anything else then for the sake of shrugging off its reputation as one of the countries with highest youth suicide rate in the world.