By Olaitan Oye-Adeitan

Back then as a student in the school, we all looked forward to high scores in our examinations and so does our parents. A child with very good grades was celebrated and almost seen as the toast of his parents. So we all struggled, to get good grades and receive the applause of the school and hugs of our parents.

In fact, we detest ever having red ink on our report cards because we knew what that meant.

Today, this same spirit resides in students and parents and there’s absolutely nothing wrong. But one truth every teacher, parent, and student needs to know is that examinations and grades are very important but they are not everything.

Due to the so much emphasis placed on high scores, a lot of students only read to pass exams. Some do a lot of cramming, ‘read and download’ with very few studying to internalize what had been taught.

Some also resort to examination malpractice just to be able to record good grades, looking for ‘expo’, that is, exam questions at all costs. This kind of attitude informs statements such as “Enito ba mo way e, lo mo we”, meaning, “Whoever knows his way, is the one that’s brilliant”.

There had also been cases where some students were pushed to take up science subjects or courses based on their excellent grades in those subjects whereby such students do not have the capacity or potential for those courses. Some would have been better off in Arts class.

No doubt, grades are good, but they certainly do not define a student. Beyond the grades is a life whose destiny is yet to be revealed.

Benjamin Solomon Carson, popularly called Ben Carson, is an  American neurosurgeon and politician, who performed the first successful operation on conjoined twins who were separated at the back of the head(Occipital craniopagus twins). 

Dr. Benjamin Carson

Ben was not brilliant in his elementary school days. He was so dull in class that he became an object of mockery among other fellow classmates. His performances were so bad that the school asked his mother to withdraw him as he could not cope. What a sad day for his mother when the letter, asking her to withdraw his son from school was handed over to her.

But years later, this same Ben Carson became the World acclaimed Surgeon, achieving a feat no surgeon ever recorded in history.

Aside the separation of the Siamese twins, he had laurels of other achievements. He was awarded William E Simon Prize for philanthropic leadership in 2005, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP; the highest honor for outstanding achievement in 2006 while the United States white house awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor in 2008. His achievements are just too numerous to count but way back then in school, he performed poorly.

As a Singaporean head teacher once wrote, If your child gets top marks, that’s great! But if he or she doesn’t, please don’t take away their self-confidence and their dignity from them. They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Let them know that no matter what they score, you still love them. One exam or low grade won’t take away their dreams or talents. And please, do not think that doctors and engineers are the only happy people in the world”.The principal wrote.

Parents and teachers ought to realize that, amongst students sitting for exams, there’s a future entrepreneur who would not need history or literature in English, an artist who doesn’t need further maths, a musician whose chemistry work won’t matter and a sports person whose physical fitness is more important than their grade in physics. 

Do not think that doctors and engineers are the only important and needed people in the world. The world is so large requiring expertise in various fields of life and more discoveries are emerging every day that will still require specialized skills hidden in young boys and girls who God has chosen to break such grounds.

What is therefore required of parents and teachers is to discover the hidden potential in their children or students, not compare them with others, and help each child develop his potential to the fullest to be the man or woman God intends him to be for God the Creator has deposited in everyone what he or she requires to succeed in life.

A German-born Physicist, Albert Einstein corroborated this in one of his statements, “Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

Grades do not measure intelligence. Academic records may show performance levels during exams, but additional factors may alter their applicability to your professional potential.

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