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Develop life skills

Getting good marks is just one factor when it comes to future success and one cannot completely depend on it. You could get marks if you stay on your desk studying for a long time, just for an exam and without any understanding of what you are doing is supposed to be for your future. I have seen many examples of students who received high marks but were not able to be succesful in life because they were not able to use their creative skills to change things in life. That, according to me, is the main step to achieve success.

Determination, too, is a big factor because this means that you are going to make an effort and are going to improve. You are going to chase things that are good and you have some ability to change. Just know well what you want out of your studies, ask yourself: “Why am I studying this?” And if you believe that you are studying something with a specific aim, work hard to achieve that aim. Studying hard, alone, is not enough — you need to be well-cultured and well-read and have the knowledge of different fields. That will help you develop skills and open doors for you.

From Mr Nassef Nabeeh Naguib
Educational adviser living in Abu Dhabi



Education is one-dimensional, life isn’t

I would argue that marks don’t really matter in terms of future success because your marks are meant to show how well you performed in a particular exam. If exams were alighned to what success was in real life, then marks would matter, but it is impossible to replicate real life in school curriculum. Marks are measuring how well a student has learnt a few things, especially if you consider the Indian education system like the CBSE [Central Board of Secondary Education], which measures how well you memorise things. Nowadays, sure, it is becoming more practical but no matter how practical you try to make it, you cannot replicate reality.

I have met many successful people who told me that just because they had their backs to the wall, in terms of coming from a poor background or not doing so well at school, whatever they chose to do in life, they put in their 100 per cent. At school, the child is in a very protective environment. The minute you remove that protective environment and expose him or her to the real world, the situation changes. Even parents need to keep that distinction in mind. At the end of the day, you succeed in the real world based on determination, smartness and hard work. Education is very one-dimensional and reality is multi-dimensional. If you are creative and have the determination to keep trying out new things, you will keep innovating and in today’s world, if you keep innovating, you are bound to be successful.

From Mr Nishant Das
Data scientist living in Dubai



Academic performance just forms the base

Marks are important for you to get into a good place to start from but once you are in an institution or an organisation, it is your skill, talent and real-life experiences that make a difference. In terms of academics, I have been a second-rank holder at college, but I feel that is not the only thing that has pushed me ahead in life. It is about how you take up a job and relate to the work and add value to it. You need to be a smart worker, not just a hard worker, and hands-on with your job.

Yes, you need to have a good academic base, but that is all it is — a platform for me to showcase to the world that I am much more than just marks.

We are living in an age where smart work is necessary, not just hard work. So, in addition to what we have learned within the school environment, we need to incorporate our own skills and strengths to make life and work more rewarding.

Intelligence is something we are born with but hard and smart work is something we can develop. You need to find a balance between all the three.

We all have unique talents, which set us apart from one another. If we all just recognise and work on polishing those talents, there is nothing stoping us.

From Ms Nazia Jalal Irfan
Merchandising executive living in Dubai



Parents and teachers need to change their mindset, only then will skill-based learning be successful

I would not agree that marks are a good indicator of future success because they don’t really show what the person is capable of. There are vaious ways in which you can attain 90 per cent or 100 per cent marks but ultimately, I have seen that it really doesn’t matter. I have seen high academic performers who have not been too successuful in the real world as they fail to go about solving a problem or thinking in a different way. I have also seen average performers who have done extremely well in real life because they may have developed resilience and an understanding of how the world works and developed strategic thinking and out-of-the-box thinking. They develop the grit and passion to make a difference, whereas high performers mostly get into a very structured environment. With about two billion jobs becoming obsolete in another decade or so, there is a serious crisis of unemployment ballooning towards a point of explosion. What are we preparing children for?

Also, sadly, the Indian education system inclines much towards the “preparation of exams”, where students’ aspiration, strength and potential is sidelined. The whole process of schooling is driven by teachers, tuitions and parents’ aspirations with very little or no thought towards giving students the responsibility of their own learning and helping them develop their innate, unique abilities, which will help them to become effective members of modern society.

Now there is a lot of change in skill-based learning within CBSE, which will take time, but the whole mindset of teachers has to change. Parents, too, need to change their mindset, because they always measure their child’s success by comparing marks with other students.

A lot of times schools are forward-thinking and have different ways of assessing a child by showing his or her individual skills but parents want to know how their child is doing in comparison to the other students in class. I am definitely against focussing on marks and would always encourage educators and parents to focus on skill-based learning.

From Ms Poonam Heryani
Academic research and development expert living in Dubai


Gulf News asked: Do you think academic performance in school is a good indicator of future success?

Yes 40%

No 60%


— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor


Have your say: Have you observed a correlation between academic excellence and real-life success? Do you think high performance at exams is overly emphasised? How do you think schools can adapt their curricula to train students for real-world challenges? Share your views by sending an email to readers@gulfnews.com