That children are going to schools carrying extremely heavy schoolbags on their back is a very common scenario not only in Bangladesh but around the world. The pressure on children to achieve high levels of academic success is overriding the joys of education and making kids anxious and depressed. Notably, in Bangladesh, the pressure of school has ramped up considerably over the past years, thanks to our education system for being obsessed with a narrow definition of success — with standardised testing, ranking, comparison and competition.
Education is a privilege not a burden. The process of education should not humiliate those for whom is it meant. The focus of education is not to suppress information but to kindle thirst for knowledge. But unfortunately, we are doing what we ought not to do. The consequence is that a large number of children studying at primary level suffer from depression and anxiety.
The loopholes in modern education continue to generate an abundance of constructive criticism. In most cases, the criticisms have been expressed in a call for new curriculum materials, better facilities, increased financial support, and more highly trained teachers. But what is further needed is to rectify our education system by altering the focus on catering to education with joy. There is too much focus on academic outcomes. The whole system is geared towards achieving better outcomes rather than instilling kids to love learning.
It is not up to kids to work out how to cope better with the pressure. It is up to us to find out ways to reduce that pressure. It is time to think beyond the narrow definitions of success. It is our society and our education system which brought competition and comparison, because, for most of us, it is not about education, it is about first rank. In this regard, we must remember that everybody cannot sit on top of the pile, only a few can.
The education system needs to be reformed in such a way that children can learn and master their skills, can bring about their creativity and apply that knowledge for their growth and betterment of society. Definitely, the current education system needs to be restructured. Focuses should be given on lessening the load of the books of the children, utilising some of their school time in developing their skills to create value out of that knowledge, and educating them in terms of their own progress and welfare of the society. We all want to give our children quality education which not only relies on academics but also focuses on the knowledge, awareness, and application of that knowledge in daily lives.