Students find Sibal's exam formula 'stressful'

Students find Sibal's exam formula 'stressful'

Yet, Union Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal’s recent announcement that the ‘Tenth’ class ‘Board Exam’ under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) pattern would become optional from 2010-11, has spawned a fresh interest in ‘Stress Management For Adolescents”.

While there are schools in Chennai which weeks before the Board Exam organise special ‘Homams to Lord ‘Hayagreeva’ (God of Learning) to keep their students morale and self-confidence high, many others seem to have no clue on how to de-stress their students prior to the exams.

A group of PG students from the Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) who have taken up three city schools under three different categories to study how its final-year students cope with “stress” in the 10th and 12th class, in the run-up to their respective Board Examinations found the conditions quite appaling.

The schools chosen for this study included the Maharishi Vidya Mandir (under CBSE Board), C.S. Central Matriculation School and P E T School (TN State Board). In all, 90 students were covered by the survey.

“At least students of the CBSE school are much better off in being exposed to various extra-curricular activities like ‘yoga’ and tips from their teachers on how to approach the Board exam, but it is just the opposite in the other two schools that come under the State Board,” Vani Priya and Shobana, MSSW students part of the project team, said. In the case of 10th and 12 class, students from the State Board “are thirsting for some kind of activity (other than studies),” to free themselves from their over-stressed situations, the research students said.

Even as the results of their study is being consolidated, the MSSW students got a little more pro-active; organising ‘info-talk sessions’ for students from these schools to help them unwind themselves even if for a few hours. Typically, psychology experts address select batches of high school children. “Stress per se is no bad word,” extolled Dr S Nambi, Former Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, at an info-talk session to students of the C.S Central Matriculation School.

‘Stress’ is the basic trigger for any vital organism to grow, and “just exams should not scare you,” he urged in his pep-talk. “It is the mind that makes heaven out of hell and hell out of heaven,” he quoted the familiar adage to ring in an attitudinal change.
 
Nambi, to his surprise found that many students were not taught the basic distinction between ‘stress’ and ‘distress’. As adolescents (13-18 years), children should be taught to take normal stress factors as “motivators” for achieving something, rather than turning ‘stress’ into ‘distress’, Nambi said.

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