Over 230 students ‘topped’ this time in the Assam class 10 board exams! The 20 positions declared by the Board of Secondary Education Assam were shared by at least 11 students. Very good! Assam students are highly competitive! But what is the point of the society getting a bright student? He or she is expected to be an asset or the society. But sadly, there is no institutional mechanism to follow the career paths of these bright students. Nobody knows where they are after a couple of years, unless they keep on excelling in their academic and later on professional fields. Some of them hog media headlines for wrong reasons too. News of bright students committing suicide is not uncommon. Many others become unemployed, depressed souls. For some, the accolades, thanks to the hyperactive electronic media, become too much to digest. They have the hangover of celebrations for such long time that they forget they have miles to go, further. It’s not the end of the journey. Rather, it’s just a beginning. Life learning is a different ballgame, much different than the academic studies. None can excel in life without life learning.

Topping the state board exams has also become a myth. Although these toppers are over-hyped by the media as the best students of the year, the fact that thousand others compete at all India level under CBSE and ICSE is completely ignored. The toppers may not have had their place if they had to compete with all non-SEBA candidates! And nobody knows who the topper of Assam in CBSE class X exam. No ‘phulam gamosa’ or live TV interview for him or her! The euphoria over class X state board results only creates a ‘feel good’ atmosphere, which serves ruling political party only. On the other hand, such system causes heartbreak for hundreds others who miss the position by a whisker. Their unnecessary pain can be reduced and euphoria done away with only by implementing the grade system on par with the CBSE. Let the media manage with less breaking news on the result day!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on June 3, 2016)

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