PTI, NEW DELHI: Parents should not treat the "report cards" of children as their "visiting cards" or expect them to fulfil their unfulfilled dreams, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he interacted Tuesday with around 2,000 students, teachers and parents.
He encouraged parents to be a factor of motivation and encouragement for their children.
"I would request parents, do not expect your children to fulfil your unfulfilled dreams. Every child has his or her own potential and strengths...It is important to understand these positives of every child. Parents often treat the report cards of their children as their visiting cards and that adds extra pressure on them which is very unreal and unhealthy," he said in the second edition of "pariksha pe charcha".
"Only when you take it in spirit and encourage your child, a 60 per cent holder move towards 70 or 80 per cent. If you only criticise and scold your child for not getting 90 per cent, you will demotivate your child to start believing that they are incapable. This will take their grades further down towards 40 per cent.
"If parents start comparing their child with achievement of others, it disappoints the child. Parents should encourage their children for every small improvement," the prime minister added.
Modi said at present, the education system has become rank-bound and rather than running behind ranks, parents and teachers should teach the students to learn from things around them.
"Live freely, observe and be curious to know new things rather than focussing on achieving only ranks. These days the meaning of education has narrowed down to getting ranks in exam for many," he said.
With less than a month to go for the class 10 and class 12 examinations, Modi discussed ways to handle the exam stress in the interactive session at the Talkatora Stadium where students from across the country got a chance to participate.
"Our learning cannot be reduced to exams only. Our education must equip us to face various challenges of life as well. I sincerely believe that anything that challenges us, polishes us too. If there is nothing to test us, then we become complacent. There must always be something to challenge us," he said.
Jairpeet Singh, a student based in Tehran, asked the prime minister about the need to encourage school children constantly and how it makes them happy.
"Compare yourself with your old records, you are your own competition, you break your records, you will never have the chance to drown in a trough of despair if you break your records yourself," the prime minister replied.
"Exams are important in life, but one should not be stressed by it. Ask yourselves if this is an exam of your life or is it just an exam for a particular grade like class 10 or 12. Once you know the answer to this, your pressure will reduce," he added.
The prime minister advised the students to aim big in life, but do not get carried away in the process of realising them.
"While aiming big in life is good, but don't get so carried away by it that your dreams remain dreams and you become too old just thinking about it. We must understand ourselves. We must be true to ourselves, question ourselves frequently to see how we stand periodically as compared to our ambitions and dreams in life.
"If you see yourself far from it, then you know what to do. You must break your dreams into phases and give it a time frame to achieve. You must cross one milestone at a time. Climb from a smaller peak to a larger one," Modi said.
The prime minister said technology should lead to expansion of the mind and be seen as a means to innovate, but, he also asked students not to forget the playing field.
Responding to a question about how he manages to work continuously for over 17 hours a day, he said, "We work hard, but we all go through some setbacks in life. You work 17 hours a day, how do you keep yourself motivated?"
"What keeps a mother motivated and energised through the day, doing so many things tirelessly? She does it for her family and their well-being. Similarly, I truly consider all my fellow countrymen as my family. That is what keeps me encouraged and motivated."
Talking about depression Modi said ,"Students living in hostel can also find some senior or a person with whom they can share their feelings. Parents should try to connect their child with someone who can help their child in the time of crisis or need. A get-together once in a weekend will also help".
When a student asked how they should convince their parents that they want to follow a passion of their own choice, he said, "Analyse your passion and figure out if you have the ability and a plan to follow it. Take guidance from your teachers. Then convince your parents and assure them that you can do it."