With the board exams barely a month away, most students find themselves suffering from exam-related stress. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again connected with students and addressed this issue. He has now penned his thoughts in a book called the“Exam Warriors”. The book aims to help students with exam-related anxiety. His initiative is praiseworthy, as stress is not only bad for the health of the students, it sometimes claims lives of students as well.

Board exams lead to high levels of stress and anxiety in students

For students, board exams are their primary encounters with heightened stress in their lives.

It is for the first time that their intelligence (theoretical knowledge, to be precise) is tested on a national level. But board exams have long ceased to be a measure to test a student’s intelligence. It’s all about the percentage now.

Students are pushed to scoring well in exams than on gaining knowledge. Since their entire future depends on the 10th and 12th markheets. In fact, it is mandatory for students to secure 75 percent in their 12th, or be in the top twenty percentile in their respective class 12th board exam, to qualify for admissions in the IITs. Add to that the constant pressure from parents for the sake of social glory.

These expectations and the pressure of the entire future riding on one performance heightens stress in students, sometimes pushing them to take extreme steps like suicide.

According to the NCRB report on the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2015, failure in the examination is cause for 2% suicides in our country.

The same report states that in 2015, of all the people who chose to end their lives, 6.7% were students.These alarming figures are a proof of how deadly exam-related stress can be.

The Prime Minister’s initiative might help change the attitude towards Board Exams

The timing of “Exam Warriors” is critical, as according to Dr Bangri’s study, “Assessment Of Examination Stress And HRV in Adolescents”, most students undergo enhanced mental stress 7 days before the examination, as compared to that observed 1 month before.

The pattern of Board Exams is indeed debatable, but it can not be entirely  blamed for the pressure and stress.

The pressure to excel comes from parents and the society. It comes from the threat of having a poor future.

Hence, PM Modi’s initiative of writing a book or addressing students via video call will help alleviate the pressure on students. The Union Budget this year has announced one lakh crore rupees allocations to the revitalisation of the education sector. A chunk of it should be used to provide proper counselling to parents and students.

Also Read : How To Help Stressed Students? Happiness Classes

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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