Kaieteur News – Yesterday was like no other day. It was exams day and the number of vehicles, which were parked outside of our secondary schools, was unusually high.
The Caribbean Examinations Council’s CSEC examinations and CAPE began yesterday. In addition, there was an unusually high turnout of parents accompanying their children to the gates of the school.
Many hugged and kissed their children, said a prayer with them and then wished them good luck. But it did not end there. At midday, the parents were there to pick up their children and were armed with a special meal for those who had examinations in the afternoon session. Again, there were hugs, kisses, and prayers.
Some of the kids may have been taken by surprise at the excellent treatment they were receiving at the hands of their parents. They were made to feel extra special on this the first day of the examinations as their parents went out of their way to treat them with extreme love and affection.
Parents go to great lengths to ensure that there is no psychological pressure on their children during examinations. They do not raise their voices at their children. They do not put any pressure on them. They try to remove all hints at pressure from the child.
Parents wake up early to prepare a special meal for their children who are writing the examinations. The parents know what meals the children like and they prepare a special meal on examination day to send them on their way. The children are encouraged to eat as much as they can and take seconds if they so wish.
Parents ensure that they have extra pens and pencils, rulers and sharpeners. During lunchtime, they take a very special meal for them. It is either Church’s or Pizza, things that the children like. Before the kids leave for the afternoon session it is more hugs and kisses encouraging them to do their best.
When they return from school, they are told to take it easy, to relax. The children must be in stress-free environment. Nothing is done to place any form of pressure on them. And the cycle of special meals, hugs and kisses and encouragement begins all over again when the second day of the examination commences.
If the children were so pampered throughout their school days as they are during examination days, their performance would be much better. But the problem with parents is that they reserve their best behaviour towards their children for examination days.
Parents should not wait until examination days to create a pressure-free environment for their children. They should feed them well before and after the examinations. They should ensure that the children are under no pressure. The home should be a loving environment for the children so that they can enjoy learning.
Most parents expect that special treatment on examination days will have a miraculous effect on the performance of children. They do not appreciate that learning is a process, and it takes time, and children need the fullest support to bring out the best in them. Showing special love and attention on examination days is not going to reverse all those other times when children were made to feel unappreciated and unloved.
The fancy meals at lunchtime on examination days are not going to compensate for the years of previous neglect of the nutrition of the children. It is not going to work any miracles on examination day itself.
It will only, in the eyes of the children, expose the hypocrisy of some parents. The children will privately question why it is that they are only made to feel special on examination days.
In fact all this special treatment can backfire, because when the children do not perform well, as the parents expect them to, parents are bound to vent their frustration on the children and point to the fact that they went out of their way to make them feel special and loved during examination days.
Parents must love and show affection to their children all year round, and not just at exam time. They should show love to their children, because this will create an environment in the home that is conductive to learning.
Many parents have little time for their children before examination. But come examination day, the children are given the best treatment. It is too little, too late!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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