When Vandana Sufia Kutoch’s son scored 60% in CBSE Class 10 exams, Kutoch went to Facebook to express how happy and proud she was of her son. That post went viral over the next couple of days, getting hundreds of comments and thousands of shares, with many commending her for giving unconditional support to her son.
She talked to InUth about why marks can’t be a yardstick for success.
“Marks are not the yardstick of success. At the same time, it’s not to say that one should be callous about the marks and not work hard enough…But it has to be approached from a positive frame of mind and not from a terrorised, worried and scared point of where you are. And the latter happens when the marks become the be-all and end-all of students’ life. They either write-off the child or put him on a pedestal. And that is what I feel is wrong.”
She further emphasised that marks don’t matter as much as the ability of the child to work on their strengths and acknowledge their weaknesses.
“I have been a 90 percenter and I have seen that side of the spectrum too. And I have seen my child and I have seen my friends who had scored 60% or 70% and now they’re heading companies. I have seen that life can take you anywhere as long as you keep working on your strengths and go forward…Low marks are not something you should allow to break you. There is so much more beyond marks that we should spend our focus and our time on.”
She also talked about how her son had to struggle through Class 8th, 9th and 10th in subjects that were not cut out for him. But finally pulled through in the last days leading up to the board exams.
“Aamer had a fair amount of struggle through the last couple of years, especially since Class 8th, 9th and 10th got tougher and tougher. The course got more intense. He was feeling more and more inadequate and lost with where he was and we were trying everything. So he would just shut down and that just made matters worse. A few months back he was also diagnosed with teenage depression and it all, sort of, fell on him at the same time…As a mother, it really pained me to see him in pain and feel so less about himself.”
But finally pulled through in the last days leading up to the board exams.
“It’s after the pre-boards in January, when the results came out, he realised that it’s just too close and too real…That’s when he came to me and said, ‘Mumma, let’s get this over with and let’s just move on to Class 11’. So that was the point at which he literally steeled himself and said that ‘Okay, let’s get through these months and I will do my best to understand, learn and try and practice it as much as I can.'”