Exams pressure could ruin students’ life

Ishaq Khan

PESHAWAR: Every time the students have to face a certain amount of pressure during the exams, in some cases this pressure could change the individual’s life in the form of anxiety and nervousness for the rest of their life.

Bushra Bibi, a 53 years old mother of three children, told The Frontier Post that every mother and father wants their children to be successful and bring some good grades for their own bright future.

“Sometime parents keep very high hopes from their children and put some extra pressure on the children with the aim to make sure their son or daughter could bring good results to make them proud but unfortunately sometimes that extra pressure could ruin their children’s life as it happened with my own daughter” she said.

Bushra explained that her daughter (Aqsa) was a very bright student throughout her school life and we had some high expectations from her that she will make us proud by acing in the exams, without understanding our own daughter, we put some extra pressure on her before the matric exams.

“We didn’t realize that our daughter is avoiding family functions and other activities, only seen to be busy in her books, In fact we were happy for her loneliness and concentrating on studies without knowing that this behavior could drag our child far from us”, Bushra Bibi added.

“But unfortunately in 2019 her Matric result was very poor comparing to her previous academic exams and everyone in the family and teachers were disappointed to see her marks as we all were expecting some extra ordinary” She said.

After the result, we witnessed that she is avoiding everyone in the family and crying in loneliness but we didn’t take it seriously and one day she announced that she did not want to continue her study because everyone will make fun of her, she lamented.

“We tried so much to convince her for enrollment in college but she refused and started irritating on name of study, my husband (Who is doing job in Saudi Arabia), and my son everyone tried to pacify Aqsa, to continue her study but in vain”, Bushra shared.

To know and understand the state of mind of Aqsa towards education, the 19-year-old Aqsa said that she has no wish and interest in study anymore.

“Despite all my hard work and preparations still I was an average student after the board exams; all my fellows got better marks its embarrassing for me to face them and my family members as all were taunting and laughing at me after the matric result”, Aqsa shared her pain with teary eyes.

While interviewing the Psychologist about putting the extra exams pressure and its effects on the students, Arshi Arbab, a Clinical Psychologist told The Frontier Post that we have to handle the students very carefully during their studying phase because in some cases the extra care and putting pressure on the youngsters could ruin their lives.

“We have to understand that every child has different intellectual level, some are sharp in learning and some are slow in learning, but we expect all of our children to perform well in every field without realizing their feelings, pressurizing them to bring good grades is like to giving them mental and psychological torture” Arshi said.

Psychologist informed that those children who were unnecessarily pressurized by their family for getting good marks could lead to inferiority complex, irritation, mood swings, anxiety, depression and it can change their eating, sleeping behaviors. They (students) started to believe that their only purpose in life was to perform well in exams and slowly became anti-social and introverts which could damage their personality for the rest of their life.

She further said that if we couldn’t take good care of those children, they could commit suicide which we seen in past in many cases after their failure or meeting the family/teachers expectations because of shame and anxiety.

In some cases, the extra pressure from teachers and family could develop a rebellious behavior among the students towards the school and family which would become a part of his/her personality, Arshi said.

“We (Parents, teachers) need to maintain a stress-free environment, so that our children can easily speak their heart, leaving behind all their fears during exams in the better interest of a healthy society” Psychologist recommended.

While commenting on the issue, Dr Amjad Reba, Assistant Professor of Institute of Education and Research (IER), University of Peshawar, we have created a craze among the students of getting high marks in exams without knowing or delivering the actual concept of education.

Dr Amjad Reba informed that unfortunately our education system is following the traditional or conventional way of teaching and we are only trying to prepare the students to get good marks which created hype in the society.

“This whole process is very harmful for education, forcing the parents and teachers to put extra pressure on the students otherwise no one will open the doors of further education for them in future”, Reba said.

He claimed that education became business in our country, mostly the private education institutions only focusing and preparing the students for exams with the help of untrained teachers, then what could you expect from these institutions. We could see the advertisements and billboards of these institutions displaying their students’ marks with the purpose to attract the parents and students.

“All these flaws in the education system and society put an extra burden on students to perform well in exams without understanding the meaning of education, otherwise they will face shame and embarrassment in society for not passing the exams with good grades” Reba said.

Dr Reba said that we should focus on the values and character building of the students rather than preparing them for only exams and ignoring conceptual learning, for this purpose we trained teachers in government and private education institutions to provide a stress-free environment to our generations.

Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar (BISEP) shared the documents that in the year 2022; total 87,517 students appeared in the exams of class 9th in which 38,365 including (28,130 boys and 10,235 girls) failed to pass the exams. In the 10th exams, total 80,044 students appeared in which 12,781 including (9493 boys and 3288 girls) failed to clear the exams.

Similarly, in the HSSC Part-I, 59,664 students have given the exams and 17,049 (13,389 boys and 3,660 girls) failed to get the required marks. In the HSSC Part-II exams, 59,664 students appeared in the exams in which 3,788 (3,255 boys and 533 girls) students failed to get promotion in the next class.

There are a total 2,480 including 1,110 governments and 1,370 private sector schools and 490 colleges including 292 government and 398 private education institutions providing the education facilities to these students in Peshawar region.
While contacting the Chairman Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar (BISEP), Prof Nasrullah has accepted the fact that the hype of getting high marks in exams was created by the private sector education institutions for marketing purposes and in the end all the burden was put on the student’s shoulders.

He claimed that BISEP is utilizing all the resources to discourage the unfair means of getting good marks in the exams as some of the education institutions are trying to influence the education system with these tactics.

Nasrullah informed that the said the issue of getting high marks pressure on students was also discussed in the meeting of Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) in which all Pakistan Secondary Board Chairmen were present and the committee worked on it and prepared recommendations for it.

“We (IBCC) recommended introducing the ‘Grading’ system instead of marks in the examinations as this concept will also decrease the psychological pressure on the students to some extent” BISEP Chairman said.

He claimed that BISEP is all set to introduce SLO (Student Learning Outcome) based papers in the upcoming year of exams as it will not only improve the conceptual learning of student but will also improve quality of education, adding that we are also trying to improve the practical exams with the aim to make it more effective in the better interest of the students.