23.12.2016 09:27

Undue pressure on high school students

Autor: Ješinová Klára | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

 Is our educational system well-adjusted?

Michael is staring on a computer screen, his eyes are  bloody red with dark circles under them. “I haven’t slept properly since last weekend,” he complains. “I have so much work to do. By the time Christmas starts, I will have written the first SCIO test. I should also be able to know answers for at least half of the maturity questions plus write two essays for two different subjects,” he enumerates gloomily. “I have no time for anything else but school,” he adds while watching the sunset of another day, which he spent preparing for a school-leaving exam and an entrance examination.

Michael Sháněl is a typical nineteen-year-old student of a grammar school. He and many of his current classmates, they are going to take a SCIO test, which takes place several times during the year. For this particular test he has to study hard because he is thinking about studying law. Besides he is being exposed to a constant pressure to get good grades from all subjects, even the ones which are not important for his future field of study. “A lot of teachers set their own rules during the classes. Some of them are quite strict, they want us to work hard the whole lesson. Others know the struggle of being a graduating student and let us study according to our needs,” Michael explains.

  Are the strict teachers heartless? Mostly they are just following the curriculum. They are being pushed to deliver as much information as  possible in the smallest time. For example, an  average gymnasium teacher of Czech language  has to prepare students for a school-leaving  exam but at the same time finish the history of  literature (which contains quite important period  of time before and after the Velvet revolution).  With an average of 4 lessons per week, it is  almost impossible to achieve that. The only way  is to omit some important information or (and  this is the most common option) to assign a  homework.


Nowadays educational system is more about quantity than quality of information. Pupils and students are flooded by hundreds of information every day. Not only by teachers at school but also by media, especially social media. Our mental activity is developed often at the expense of physical activity: “I used to go to the gym at least once or twice a week,” Michael says. “However, you simply cannot spend two hours doing sport when you have three assignments the following day.”

Another problem students have to deal with is the SCIO company and their intention to create a universal test for every student, who is about to continue at a university. Tests run throughout the year which means less time for you to prepare. Also you need to strategize whether it is better to attend the first, last or one of the middle tests. The principle is to obtain the highest possible percentile. “I think the test doesn’t show how well-prepared you are. You need to be lucky enough to answer correctly such questions, which other participants struggled with,” explains Michael. “Of course, if you are clever enough to know all the answers, you have no problem. But it is almost impossible since you have such a little time to complete the test.”

It is without any doubts that graduating students and generally all young people are under great pressure. This might be the reason why more and more teenagers suffer from mental illnesses, such as an anxiety. They are expected to be successful no matter what. However, this expectation often brings just the opposite effect. The key might be in another concept of studying: less memorizing, more practical experience, more time to prepare yourself. “I would appreciate if I could just do things, which I believe are important for my future,” Michael wishes. Unfortunately, this Christmas wish is not likely to be heard.

Klíčová slova: educational system, high school students, young people under pressure, SCIO, SCIO company


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