(Marks or knowledge, what’s your goal?)
Be it admissions, scholarships, internships, or jobs, marks open up many career opportunities. But when it comes to being successful in real life outside the classroom, knowledge is what we tap into. What is more important? Marks or knowledge? Read on to find out…
A few days ago, I ran into the parent of one of our students. He told me when he was a student, everyone had a clear career path. Whoever scored 80% or more in SSC would go to the science stream. Those who scored somewhere between 65 and 80% would go into commerce. And others would opt for arts.
I asked him, so what stream did you get into? He replied with a sad smile, “I scored 86% so naturally, I opted for 11th science. But by the time I completed my B.Sc., I realized that I was actually inclined toward management. So, I jumped ships and took up MBA (finance). Then I cracked banking exams and now I am happily working with a reputed bank.
Marksheet or Real-Life Success?
Did you know Bill Gates doesn’t hold a college degree? Surprised? Neither does Mark Zuckerberg! As a matter of fact, he is a Harvard University dropout! That’s not it! Albert Einstein, a synonym for intelligence was apparently a ‘bad student’ and failed many entrance exams. Be it Steve Jobs, Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, or our very own, the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. If you look around, you can easily list many university dropouts who are highly successful in real life.
This is an eye-opener for everyone who thinks marks are the benchmark for assessing the real talent of a student. I personally believe that grades are the ultimate outcome of the teamwork of students, their parents, and their teachers. But all we do is judge a student by his/her marks and ignore his/her real talent.
If marks were the only criteria to evaluate talent, Henry Ford wouldn’t have been an automobile legend. Or my close friend who hardly scored 62% in his SSC would not have been a Chartered Accountant in the 1st go! When I asked him how did he have the courage to go for CA with such low grades, he said giggling, “Oh that was a big deal, I scored 12% more than the passing line of CA exams (50%)”.
Every one of us knows this well, but what are we doing about it?
How much did you score?
As soon as the SSC or HSC board results are out, friends, relatives, neighbors everyone asks this one question! Of course, including the educational institutes! We, as a society, have been obsessing over marks for generations. But are they really that important? They are simply a measure of students’ academic performance. And this parameter or criteria is by no means foolproof.
Imagine a student who studied so hard the entire year. But somehow on the day of the board examination, he/she couldn’t perform well. Maybe he/she was unwell or dealing with some personal or familial issue. So naturally, he will not get high marks. But does that mean he/she doesn’t know the subject well? Let’s imagine another scenario. A particular student gets lucky because everything that he/she had prepared for was asked in the exam. Now he/she will stand among the top ten students. But does that mean he/she knows the subject well?
Knowledge ≠ Marks
Knowledge or talent does not equal marks. Knowledge and marks, though correlated and often confused with each other, are two entirely different things. If you ask me, marks are simply a reflection of how well you performed on a certain day when certain questions were asked. Of course, marks will determine your eligibility for admissions, scholarships, internships, or job opportunities. But knowledge is what will help you succeed in life beyond the classroom.
What is Knowledge?
Knowledge is the information, skills, and understanding you have gained through your education and experiences. It is the foundation upon which your expertise is built. To put it differently, it is the practical application of what you have learned in school or college. And when it comes to solving real-world problems, you will have to turn to your knowledge, not your mark sheets.
If you are a parent, ask yourself this. When was the last time you had a look at your SSC mark sheet?
For a student, the aim or the real end goal of education should be knowledge, not a degree. If you have the knowledge, marks will automatically come. Instead of focusing on getting good grades, if you focus on acquiring knowledge, you will grow as a profound learner and a good human being.
Students today are under a lot of pressure. They work really hard throughout the year. They solve a lot of question papers and attempt endless mock tests. But sadly, all they seek are marks, not knowledge. Marks will help you cruise through your academic years, but deep knowledge and experience will help you succeed in life.
How would you define success?
Over the years, we have come across many people of both kinds. There are those who did very well at school. Always passed with flying colors. But in the end, didn’t turn out to be anyone remarkable. And there are those who probably did not score well but stayed on the path of gaining knowledge. And today they have reached top positions and have become successful. Which ones do you want to be?
Marks can be a motivator to learn. They can also open up opportunities. So, striving for good marks is not wrong. But let’s not forget that we should pursue building a solid foundation of knowledge. Let’s learn to prioritize knowledge over marks and strive to reach our real potential. Let’s save ourselves from this meaningless rat race and stop judging students based on their marks only.
Marks and knowledge serve different purposes.
It is possible to have good marks without a deep understanding of a subject, and it is possible to have a deep understanding without achieving top grades. If we learn to emphasize knowledge more than marks, exam days will not be as stressful. Students will learn to learn, rather than simply mugging up their syllabus and forgetting everything soon after the exam. Let’s raise our future generations to be knowledge seekers instead of seeking a few numbers on a sheet of paper.
So, if you clapped whenRanchoddas Chanchad in 3 Idiots said “Follow the perfection, the success and marks will follow you”, do not be a hypocrite and pressurize your child to score more at the cost of actually learning something.
Just give it a thought!