Friday, May 30, 2008

Topper’s Story…

The West Bengal Secondary examination result was out last Wednesday and as expected there were handfuls of students scoring close to 100 percent marks! As the board has stopped publishing toppers' list, the TV channels and newspapers have taken over the tasks themselves. If you happen to switch on your TV and tune in to some local 24X7 news channels on the big day you will definitely find the reporter interviewing the crème de la crème. And one of the common questions you would find being asked and answered is 'How long did you use to study?'

The toppers have become smart! As always and, of course, to my great surprise-cum-amusement the topper on the TV answered without batting an eye that he used to study 16-18 hours a day! Boy! 18 hours of study and also for an exam like this! Do you believe this? I could not. It seems inhuman to me. As far as I can remember I used to study at most 5 hours a day before my secondary exam and managed to score a handsome 86 percent.

For the sake of argument, let's say our hero indeed used to study for eighteen hours. Then obviously he didn't have time for any other extracurricular activities like sports or for any hobbies which are essential for all-round development of a person. They themselves answer that they didn't have time for when asked about their other activities apart from study.

They become sort of a celebrity. Through out the year they were felicitated by various bodies, like the local municipality, clubs, politicians, newspapers and, of course, the board itself. It eats away their study time for the next, relatively tougher exam, the Higher Secondary two years later. Tasting the success once they also become to some extent complacent. And there is the pressure to perform again – lot of expectations from lot of people. This shows in the result of the Higher Secondary exam. Many toppers who scores 95 percent plus marks fail to score even 80 percent in Higher Secondary. How many great people are their in the society two topped in their board exams? Most of these toppers who don the first page of news papers and prime time on TV on the big day fade away into oblivion.

The adoption of the grade system which is going to be followed from next year in West Bengal will be good deterrent to the cut throat competition to be at the top. After all how does it mater if one gets 90 percent or 95 percent! The students would no more sacrifice everything just to edge past his fellow student. Perhaps the parents would be disappointed. It is them who push their wards for this race. And it is them who relish the limelight equally with their topper child.

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