Academic deal

DANGLING THE CARROT A car is what youngsters may be aiming for rather than a good education   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

Youngsters today have their eyes set on high marks for a purpose - the grand reward of a car or a 3G phone on the other side of the exam, writes NEETI SARKAR

At a time when teenagers aregearing up for their boardexams, parents invariablyresort to using external rewardsto get their kids to study.Those were the days when thesemotivators were limited to a fewhundred rupee notes, a treat at athree-star hotel or probably atrip to a neighbouring State, butthe times they are a' changingand people change with thetimes.

Today's teenager has hefty demandseven before the commencementof the board exams.From touch-screen phones andIMacs to muscle cars and visits toshopping paradises around theglobe, youngsters sure know howto strike the best deals and parentsknow how to get their wayaround their children who hankerfor tangible rewards.

Karun Menon, a 15-year-oldsays: "My parents have promisedto get me a bike if I score an 80per cent. I get an iTouch as well ifI manage to get a 90." His classmate,Tania D'Souza, who is interestedin photography, can'twait to get her very own SLRcamera.

Pooja Trivedi, an 18-year-oldCommerce student is lookingforward to the end of May already."The thought of drivingaround town in my own car isreason enough to slog until I'mdone with the exams. To ensure Igive the board exams my bestshot, my parents have alreadybooked a car for me," sheexplains.

So does anyone actually studyto do well or to get into a goodcollege anymore? Is intrinsic satisfactiona thing of the past? Dokids burn the midnight oil onlyfor tangible rewards?

According to Rani Mathew, amother of two teenagers, "Welive in an age where we quantifyeverything - from love to success.Also, when you know thereis a solution to your problem,you're bound to use it to youradvantage. The truth is iPods andplay stations do work for the presentbreed of youngsters."

What comes as a surprise isthat many parents have stoppedexpecting their children to score"good marks". For those parentswho can afford managementseats, a mere pass percentagewould do. Loy Karat, anotherparent says: "My daughter has alwaysbeen the average student. Idon't want to pressurise her to dowell. Also, I've planned to enrollher at a fashion design schoolthat expects one to have only a 50percent in the boards."

Parents at fault

School counsellor Shireen Saitbelieves the new age parents areculpable for this situation. "Insteadof encouraging their kids todo well, to study so they get admissionin college on the basis ofmerit, parents don't feel the needto teach their kids to look beyondextrinsic rewards. The successstories of those who weren'tsmart at school but made it biglater and the fear that youngsterstoday contemplate suicide whenthe going gets tough is anotherreason why parents are satisfiedwith the mediocre achiever."

However, there are youngsterswho work hard because theydon't believe there is a short cutto success and are driven by internalsatisfaction. And for those,whose parents cannot affordmanagement seats or 3G phones,there is no choice but to give theboard exams their best shot.


Parents make promises of fancy gadgets if kids get high percentage

Incentive may work, but is it the right attitude to life?

Cars, 3G phones, holidays abroad, or gaming units are common rewards