The rat race of securing high marks and grades in exams is putting students under immense pressure. Various agents are the culprits that perpetrate this stress. Parents, relatives, siblings and the market demand students set goals where they don’t have any say. Burdening students with proxy dreams is worse than child labour.

Every child is born with a particular set of talents. Not every student can excel at exams. It is possible that a particular skill remains latent till some favourable stimulus stirs it out of its latency. Different students accelerate at different levels, some at school while others at college or university. All is never lost for students! The thing is they should be encouraged to continue against all odds. Otherwise, under persistent ridicule and jeering, they may feel chagrined, become a victim of cognitive aberrations, and resort to suicidal risks to rid themselves of this malignant anguish.

Lifelines must always be available for students who may segue into falling easy prey to an inferiority complex. All students must be conditioned to target excellence in any field. Expertise in any skill or discipline works wonders. The annals of history are replete with history-making personalities who had been bad performers at educational institutions at one stage or the other.

To quote a few, Rabinder Nath Tagore, a college dropout, won the Nobel Prize for literature. Ashfaq Ahmed, the illustrious Urdu novelist and short story writer, failed the tenth class exam. Maths was an anathema to him, as he disclosed in an interview with Anwar Maqsud in a programme Private Eye, available on YouTube.

One of the most famous college dropouts was Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, saw off the Ivy League school. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, left Harvard after the end of his sophomore year. Oscar-winning actor and producer Brad Pitt left everything behind to go where he wanted.

All this corroborates the simple fact that schools and colleges are means to an end, not an end per se. If a student doesn’t breathe like a normal living being within the four walls of these institutes, it doesn’t allude he has no right to pursue his dreams. Failure here can never put a full stop to his sojourn to live up to his full potential. As Einstein phrases this violence on the student’s soul:

“If you judge a fish by its ability to ride a bicycle, it’ll die believing it’s a failure.”

Failing to stand first in school or college must not seal a student’s future. His ability and talent may go dormant, awaiting favourable conditions to sprout. Teachers and parents must provide time and space to students. Ridicule and derision must not be meted out to students who can exhibit their flair at any other time or place. It is one of the human rights of students that no student should be ever declared a hopeless case. It is, by all intents and purposes, against the divine belief in a man being the paragon of all creatures.