India Uncut

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Exams and natural disasters

"Children in Mumbai took part in a study that revealed they are not very scared of earthquakes or fires," writes Mid Day, "but the thought of failing [an examination] leaves them weak in the knees."

The report doesn't give us enough details about the test, but I don't think one can conclude from it that kids actually consider exams to be more dangerous than earthquakes. Earthquakes are rare events, and their unlikeliness means that kids fear them less. I have no fear, for example, of a meteor dropping on me, even though such an event would certainly kill me, because it is so unlikely to happen. I am far more likely, right now, to fear that my internet connectivity suddenly goes away for a while, not allowing me to complete this post, because that can actually happen. So I fear loss of internet connectivity more than a meteor dropping on me, even though the latter event would cause me much more harm.

Thus, there is hardly anything extraordinary about kids fearing exams, which are inevitable for them, more than earthquakes. It would be remarkable if it was the other way around.
amit varma, 4:54 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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