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More isn’t always better

  • Published at 12:00 am February 10th, 2019

Are we putting too much pressure on our kids?

What is the theory behind introducing the Primary Education Completion (PEC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) exams here in Bangladesh?

One might say that it is to add pressure on the schools to improve children’s learning outcomes. But the reality is quite different. These exams put enormous pressure on the children too early in their lives to make them perform better. And such pressure negatively affects children’s psychological growth and thus puts their mental health at risk.

Surely, too much pressure on children would seriously harm them, and destroy any possibilities of them enjoying their best years? In many cases, these exams give way to the cottage industry that is coaching centres.

I am genuinely concerned about this system. I noticed the potential harm of the system when my wife showed her concern regarding extra pressure on my young children for their better performance.

I replied with a “no.” Truth be told, I am not all that concerned about their exam results, but I am worried about how they will approach life.

Child development not only refers to the changes in a child in terms of their physical growth, but also his or her ability to learn the emotional, cognitive, and social communication skills, as well as the social values and ethics they will need to lead a responsible and dignified life.

Certainly, parents play the most important role in their children’s development, but they invariably get influenced by school and the education system in the country they live in. School practices that promote the development of a child within the school system also matter much in this regard.

I hope that the new ministers for education and primary education will focus on child development in their reform of our education system. 

Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar is an Associate Professor and Director at the Asian University of Bangladesh.