During my O-levels I learnt that economists treat leisure as a good and assign a value to it. At 16 I did not fully comprehend the meaning because I had a lot of free time and did not feel that it was a valuable commodity. However, I have a feeling that since then things have changed and the children of today will understand the importance of having an hour to relax.
I have seen a changing trend amongst my younger cousins: they seem to be working much harder and are a lot more stressed than I remember being. True, my friends and I gave the same exams and we too were very nervous when the dreaded O- and A-levels came near but on a day-to-day basis I felt that we were largely relaxed, and taking a few hours out during the day was not incomprehendable. Recently, I asked a 17-year-old her schedule and she described how every minute of her day was occupied from the moment she woke up at 6.30 am and till she went to sleep at 11.30 am, and this is when she didn’t have exams to study for.
Of course this is nothing new, my elder sisters and cousins said the exact same thing about me because it seemed like I worked more then they did. My explanation for this was that there was more competition and the need to do as well as those around me, necessitated the need to work harder. The problem is that this is an ongoing trend and every year competition increases and expectations rise, and the students are the ones who suffer. This problem is not limited to Pakistan and is to a large extent a global phenomenon but when will it come to a stop? Educational authorities have to bring about a change because this problem cannot be fixed by individuals.
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