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Exam Pressures Drive Students to the Edge - Essay Example

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Exam Pressures Drive Students to the Edge

One of the frequently used methods involves trains and railroad tracks. Most of the suicide incidents reported in Japan these days involve students who flunked, or knew they would flunk, a high-stakes college admission test administered uniformly to graduating high school students nationwide. Japanese students have been raised to believe that their very lives and future ride on this battery of tests such that failure to pass it could mean the end of the world for them. That means abasement and dishonor to the proud Japanese.
In the psychology of suicides, however, it is said that it is not enough that one's sense of pride and honor is wounded to want to end it all. A strong instigating factor is stress which, psychologists say, comes from feeling out of control. So if an individual is in control of his senses, he might still seek ways to redeem his fallen honor and thus vindicate himself. Suicide thus becomes an attractive path only for people stressed out by the prospects of failure, which could be the reason for the alarming incidence of such cases among Japanese students. The same thing could be happening to Australian students in the past few years.


A pressure-packed series of tests for pre-college students similar to Japan's college admission tests has since the 1960s created the same sort of problem for public health and safety in Australia. Like the Japanese exams, a great deal of importance had been attached to the tests for Australia's Higher School Certificate (HSC) that passing it has become a do-or-die proposition for the students involved. Too much is expected from students going through this examination that flunking it is considered out of the question. The HSC is perceived to have become so stressful and emotionally draining to students that authorities are beginning to believe it has something to do with the rising incidence of student suicides in the country.

HSC Pressures

The HSC is administered exclusively for Australian students in Year-12 of their schooling, the final stage of secondary education in a school system that has every Australian citizen start schooling at Year-1. It comes as a series of qualifying tests and assessments actually started by the time students are in the last term of their 11th year in school. From there, the students will undergo the examinations regularly up to the fourth and last term of their Year-12 studies when the HSC culminates into its most rigorous finals.

In the more simple years of the past, most school systems around the world did not have screening procedures for high school students seeking a college education. If you had the means albeit without the brains you could go to any college of your choice. If you end up a square peg in a round hole, making the round of universities without accomplishing anything, that was your business. But then the population everywhere got into overdrive and we begun to live in a highly competitive world. Educational reforms had to be instituted to prevent such waste of time and money and to match jobs with the appropriate skills. The HSC was the response of ...Show more

Summary

In many cultures, death is preferable to dishonor. This truism has been elevated into the equivalent of a moral code by poets and thinkers through the ages. Bulwer-Lytton for one wrote: "Come, Death, and snatch me from disgrace." The idea that death is a more honorable option than living in shame and dishonor was abetted even from way, way back by the great philosopher Sophocles who said: "It is better not to live at all than to live disgraced."
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