Today’s teenagers find themselves in an awkward position as individuals. And as school and college students, the position becomes even more so. The increasing stress of today’s money-driven life has made it progressively difficult for teenagers to cope with the various syllabi as well as the ordinary challenges thrown by day-to-day life.
The vast increase in syllabi a student encounters as he moves up through school knocks the wish to learn out of a student. Besides, he finds less and less time to mull over the basics—perhaps the most essential part of learning. Today, syllabi have sadly gained preeminence and hence, there is a critical need to stress the importance of learning basic concepts well.
The Supreme Court recently decided to introduce Environmental Education as a compulsory subject at all levels of education. Although this verdict is laudable, it has not taken into account the already incumbent workload of students. Agreed the need to spread awareness about the environment is pressing, but the need to reduce the study load of students is much more pressing. Is it possible to educate a resentful and unwilling mass of students?
The issue at stake here is not whether this new introduction is good or not; rather, it is whether the desired effects will be gained. Apparently, this new subject seeks to educate students about the importance of environmental conservation in the hope that they will be able to prevent further harm to the environment. The trouble is, however, that “the children are the future of the country” argument no longer works in this context. The danger to our environment is real and immediate. Moreover, it is caused by our policymakers, and can be prevented by them as well. Stricter regulation, rather than education, is the pressing need of the day. It makes no sense to further overburden today’s student. The arguments against making Environmental Education a compulsory subject are simple: firstly, students cannot be expected to pay attention to things they study grudgingly; secondly, today’s students are already well informed about the problem of environmental degradation, thanks to active involvement of the media and NGOs; lastly, and most importantly, policy makers cannot be allowed to feel at ease by transferring their burden of responsibility upon students.
However, it is highly unlikely that there will be any relief for students in the coming years. But we can certainly search for ways to ease the pressure and the stress. As far as the syllabus is concerned, the only way to tame this ‘monster’ is to put in a minimum amount of work every day. Studying right before the exams helps only to increase anxiety levels. Let’s hope educational policymakers soon realize that even education can be an enjoyable process. However, until that unlikely day, we students need to adapt and continue waging our lone battle against the system.