Not less than 90%

Ashwini Subodh Pathak

“The exam is just a month away and instead of studying, why are you doing this project? You have wasted yesterday’s time searching which project is to be taken? Now you are doing all these trial and errors, then you are going to make a power point presentation,you will spend time practicing the presentation…..WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STUDY?…I DO NOT WANT A SINGLE MARK LESS THAN 90%…… plus there are no marks for the project!” A caring mother of an eighth grader was very angry and worried about her son. The father was a silent spectator.

The father works in a multinational company as a senior HR consultant. He meets candidates with different qualifications seeking jobs everyday. The common thing among these candidates is their lack of problem solving ability. Given a problem most of them follow stereotypical ways to solve it, some google for a readymade solution and somehow or more appropriately anyhow, solve the problem. As the mother shouts…NOT LESS THAN 90%… the father recollects a brilliant candidate with lower scores in scholastic areas but with good life skills, problem solving ability, communication and confidence; this candidate was hired at a higher package than others.

Looking at the example above, I must say, marks are important but they are not everything. Today’s parents have realized this but still can’t bring it into practice. When given a project, or when students are participating in various competitions, they request us to tell their parents that all these other activities are as important as marks.

Projects and competitions give children something far more important than marks. Students learn how to plan, prepare, make the effort, and think differently. They learn to work in a team, gain presentation skills, handle success gracefully and failure courageously. They understand that they should put in more effort and avoid similar mistakes the next time. A more important thing is that they develop interest in the subject and gain confidence in being able to learn that subject and in the process they also get prepared for life. The value of all this is much more than 90%. So moms and dads the next time your child is enthusiastic about doing a project, help him (not by doing his project), encourage him and tell him, “Face the problem, handle it, play with it and solve it…take your time, I am with you”.

The author is Asst. teacher at DSK School, Pune. She teaches Chemistry. She can be reached at

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