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    An issue that apparently seems to be a shallow one and unfortunately is dealt with as such but in real sense this issue is one of the greatest ironies of modern times, especially in simple, backward places like our district. Here the literacy rate is much higher than that of our neighboring districts but at the same time the suicide rate among students is high as well. Why these students take their lives and what are the reasons behind such heinous act? I always wanted to bring this matter to the limelight, if not on a larger scale, at least on district level; people should know about it hence making it easy for us to cater it.

    Chitral times recently reported that Moulana Khaleeq Ul Zaman, who currently is the khateeb of Shahi Mosque, Chitral announced in a press release that this year too, the prominent religious scholar and social-worker Qari Faiz Ullah is going to distribute cash-prizes and shields among the top 3 position holders of matriculation exams. This news report was directed to those students whose obtained numbers were more than those who have been selected for these three positions. They can help them correct the discrepancy in the list which was finalized by the Department of Education, district Chitral.

    The intentions of these two gentlemen can not be questioned as they want to do what they deem virtuous, but the real problem is the lethal consequences clinging to this action of theirs. Why only those students who attain the top positions be rewarded? What effects would it leave on those students who are average/poor on the basis of this grading system? Who would guarantee that the student who tops is the one who has more knowledge? Who is going to take the responsibility of the stress levels of those students who could not attain good marks?


    Current grading system is a failure and it is responsible for the failure of students. Now it has become an international issue. Developed countries are working on it, so as it could be eradicated from their societies but what we are doing here is not just promoting this evil but are letting our future generations fall prey to it. Marks can not justify the capability of a student. Thus it can not be set as a criterion to judge the level of understanding & knowledge of a student.


    This culture of “Earning not learning” is responsible for countless depravities among the students and their approach for learning. The run for obtaining good marks leave them with stress because brain subconsciously links “stress to grades.” And the increment in stress leads students to quit studies or mostly take their own lives. According to a research conducted by the USA on this correlation, 40 students kill themselves every year because of bad grades and the stress that the endure due to this grading system.


    The real essence of education which is seeking knowledge is hindered, forgotten rather due to this fierce tradition of obtaining good grades. Students cheat and cram because we tell them that grades are more important than what they learn. Obstacles like cheating and cramming can be avoided only with the change in grading system.

    Rather than creating a havoc among students by supporting this grading system and rewarding the toppers with awards leaving other students with stress we must encourage them to learn. Students are the future of a nation. We can not afford them to leave their educational institutions or at worst take their lives because let alone last year (2018) 44, forty-four students took their lives in Chitral district. Six female students attempted suicide by throwing themselves in rivers after the announcement of intermediate results.



    So, it would be very unwise on our part to still not consider this grading system an evil which should be uprooted. According to Organization for Economics & Development of the USA; marks and grades are not supposed to be a synonym for assessment (2013).



    We must not distinguish students on the basis of marks obtained as this system of differentiation among students has become invalid. Grades should not decide the capability of a student, rather I should be there to provide feedback on progress.


    My request to the DC Chitral is to stop and not issue NOC to this prize distribution ceremony because it would only bring chaos and restlessness among our students. By doing this we would be giving a wrong custom to decide our future. The intentions of Mr. Faiz Ullah are unquestionably right but the action is not. If he wants to commemorate the struggle of students and wants to do good to the educational system of our district then please, change the nature of your noble cause in the form of providing scholarships to needy students.



    We should have to try to eradicate the grading system which is considered, as a social problem by almost all the developed countries. We have to accept that, “education is the factor that transforms a developing country into a developed one.”




    Syed Wazir Ali Shah




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