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22Feb 2019

Epidemic of School and Exam Stress

Posted by : Mradula Singh
Category : Founders Desk
Date :

Why are our children so stressed? 81% reported that academics is the cause of stress,  parental pressure to perform better is the main cause of suicide among students in India. “School-Related-Distress” is not a jargon it is term given by psychiatrists for school stress among children.

The digital space is flooded with the words of wisdom, gyaan, jokes on exam stress and academic pressure during these exam months. As the board exams are round the corner everyone is pouring in words of advice and generic information which looks like verbatim lecture one after the other.  It is not about the board exams alone but across all the grades’ exam. Is it the right time to share all these – in the form of videos or interview? Shouldn’t all this be a part of a well planned academic calendar?

This situation is sad for all of us and should be the point of serious concern for educators and parents in particular. It must be seen as a wake-up call for policy makers of our country as well. Psychiatrists have shown concern over growing levels of stress among school children causing a high incidence of deaths and suicide.

In a recent study about two-third students reported that they are stressed due to academic pressures and also about 66% of students reported pressure from parents for better academic performance is the major cause of stress. The examination system with two board exams as the passport for success, rote learning, memorisation, choice of subjects simply irrevocable all these contribute to the situation where we are today.

“High School Senior Symptoms” or “Entrance Examination Symptoms” are not merely phrases but are terms used by the East Asian countries psychiatrists to indicate mental health problems among students.

The younger children exhibit School-Related-Distress symptoms:

Fear of School Failure is reinforced by both the teachers and the parents, causing children to loose interest in studies”

  • Frequent school refusal
  • School phobia
  • Physical complaints
  • Weeping spells
  • Decreased interest in school work

Top Causes of Academic Stress Among Children

Parental Pressure In Youth Education

The parents in India should be feeling gloomy to know that the top cause of suicides in India as per research on Wikipedia is Parental Pressures In Youth Education. The modern parents should shed the taboo of high expectations from the child. The parenting coaches who in name of selling slogans like increase your child’s concentration, raise a genius child etc. should stop misguiding parents with false dreams.

Examination the Yardstick of Success

The examination system based majorly paper based, is the only means of success yardstick and each student has to prove that he is the best only in the prescribed subject area beyond that there is no talent, no appreciation & no career choice.

“Failure in Examination shatters the self-worth of the students leading to alienation from parents, peers and perceived criticism from teachers.”

Busy Schedules and Crammed with Long Structured Hours

Busy schedules crammed with long hours of structured time in schools, homework and again regulated hours in the name of extra-curricular activities or tuitions. Such regulated and structured time leave them with no room to come up with a new idea to solve problems or issues. In real life situations or academically when students are faced with challenges which might be even so easy to solve because they are stressed up they refuse or are unable to rack up their brains to find solutions to that problem.

Negative Stressors Characteristics:

 • It causes anxiety and makes one troubled

• It’s also short term but can have long term implications

 • It feels unpleasant and disturbing

 • Decrease ones’ productivity and moral

You may like to read
Understand Learning Styles of Your Child
Rethink Education
Teach Children To Be Mental Wealth Creators, Not Hoarders of Wealth
Coping With Exam Result Stress

Look out for these signs throughout the year not just during exams

Outwards Signs

  • Anxiety fidgeting
  • Biting finger nails
  • Tapping feet
  • Sweaty palms
  • Feelings of helplessness

Teach Stress Management Technique

Meditation - simple and doable  – both at home and schools

Deep Breathing

Release of Emotional Stress

Creativity – develop hobbies, people who have ways to express do not hold feelings inside. Creative outlets like art, music, painting etc.  are powerful ways to let your feelings out.

Talking-  every child deserves a responsible adult to talk to and some friends to trust to release the emotional burst of feelings to guide and advice.

Journaling – write it out & all in your diary & if there is something that needs broader discussion has a common concern then blog! Where? Join NexSchools Lil Bloggers Club . Blogging is not the way of creative expression it also adds to you positive digital footprint. NexSchools has a safe place for kids to voice their opinion.

See our Lil Bloggers Contest 2019’s Winner in Heart Winning blog category from The Scindia School who has penned down his thoughts by asking us all a very crucial question-  Is The Piece Of Paper From School Important? 

Shed the Perfectionist Taboo

High expectations, comparison and peer pressure all these are enemies of healthy emotional and physical well being of our children. It is fine to make fail, there is no need to be a perfectionist. Falling and getting up again to fight back is what will be counted as a success.

Parents blame the schools and schools blame the parents for this situation as a country we have to work as partners to find solutions. Delve deep and act, extend a caring hand towards our children. Parents should think before enrolling the child for pre-IIT coaching right from middle school years and teachers should also think before reinforcing the fear of examination. Together we have to find answers as to why India has reached the top of the ladder in suicide index and not in innovation index, happiness index and fair practice index?

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George Essel and Patrick Owusu Causes of students’ stress, its effects on their academic success, and stress management by students - Case study at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Deb, Sibnath & Strodl, Esben & Sun, Jiandong. (2015). Academic Stress, Parental Pressure, Anxiety and Mental Health among Indian High School Students. International Journal of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences. 5. 26-34. 10.5923/j.ijpbs.20150501.04.

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Mradula Singh

She knows the value of bringing technology to connect education fraternity and has taken a different route to bring awesomeness in education and parenting by starting NexSchools- an education resource and media platform.

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