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Formal education means an institution called SCHOOL.Along with it the related terms are curriculum, unit tests,class tests,surprise tests,mid-term exam,minor exam,major exam,final exams....and the list goes on and on and on...!
As parents,we have never tried to make our elder son realise the importance of exams.In fact,he started school at the ripe old age of four(ripe old age because now a days children starts school at 16 months,may not be formal education,but play school is definitely a school)and started his education life in nursery class.
What we did not know was that this four year old kids had to appear for examsSo be it!The whole system cannot change only on the basis of my husband's and my notion that these kids are too young to sit for EXAMS.
But we made it a point not to use the term exam in front of our son.So he was completely unaware about it.He was just being a normal four year old,playful and enjoying life.
But on the day of his so called exams,our boy started to cry.We were confused.When my husband coaxed and asked him the reason with lot of love,he said,"I can never get 100 out of 100 in my exams.So I do not want to sit for my exams".
We got the shock of our life!Our child did not know about exams only but now he was crying about marks!Why?
On further persuasion we learnt that the previous evening he had met ourlandlord's daughter as he was sitting on the steps in front of our house.Then,he said,"Aunty told me I should get 100 out of 100 in my exams.If I don't get full marks it's a shame".
Now the whole picture was clear in front ofus.This particular lady also had two kids aged 7 and 5 respectively.She was very serious regarding the studies of her children and made it a point to make them learn their lessons by any means.She encouraged cramming and beat them up mercilessly if they failed to get the estimated mark.Every evening,we could hear her kids howling away after being canned by her.
We were not bothered about the way she was making her childrenlearn.But then our values were different and it should be respected.So,after a lot of soothing words we managed to take our child to school that day.
The very next day I explained her my point politely so that she could not damage my child's self-confidence anymore.
Even now,my seven year old son is blissfully unaware of marks,pass,fail,good marks,bad marks or full marks.That was why he came back from school the other day and said,"Ma,there was a silly line printed on a corner of my question paper."
When I asked him what was that,he replied with great amusement,"Full marks 100."