Voices of Youth: Parents should realise grades don't define a person

I am heartened that the Ministry of Education has been implementing changes over the years to reduce the emphasis on examination grades (Stop comparing results, see tests as way to help students improve: Chan, March 8).

However, based on the experiences of students I know, the stress felt over grades is still the same today, if not worse.

Many students prepare for class tests as if they were national exams, all because they do not want to disappoint their parents or face their parents' wrath.

It sometimes seems like parents will love their children only if they do well academically.

I know of a student who did not meet her parents' expectations in a class test and was made to attend tuition for a month as a result.

Certainly, scoring good grades is a joy, but grades should in no way define a person.

Some students may not be academically inclined but may do well in their co-curricular activities or have a heart of service towards others. In fact, universities and employers look out more for such qualities in their candidates these days, and not just exam grades.

Parents should seek to understand their children better, broaden their definitions of success and affirm and encourage their children instead of putting them down when exam results do not meet their expectations.

Ultimately, if parents do not change their mindset and ease the pressure on their children, the changes to the education system will do nothing to relieve the stress that students face.

Mei-Lin Amelie Attard, 16

Secondary 4 student

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