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Educational Burnout

| by Victor Cherubim

( October 7, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)
With children back at school and the pressure on parents mounting, the effect of modern lifestyles makes us increasingly sedentary whether it is sitting at a desk. lounging on the sofa, hunching over a mobile device or lying in bed for too long. These can also be the early signs of many children doing little to keep them active, or to show interest in studies, sport or other activities.

School children once with great aspirations and parental pressure are increasingly turning up at clinics needing medical care. Multiple chronic stress over an extended period leave bright children totally drained and no longer performing at their best.

The way parents notice this stress is when the child experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in learning, in playing, in association with their friends. This is the first sign of a decline in educational performance. This symptom is not sudden but gradual.

A lot of burn out really has to do with parents putting on pressure on their children and not giving them the support they need to develop themselves according to their abilities. In such situations, the demands being placed on children exceed the resources available to the child to deal with the stress.

Signs of burn out

A clear sign of burn out of a child who is bright and doing exceptionally well at school is when the child feels tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It is the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent, drained.

Super bright kids fall apart for a variety of reasons. Relentless testing at schools and colleges both in Sri Lanka and abroad to get into good grammar, independent or private schools, does take its toll. While intensive tutoring at schools and at home, parental and peer pressure are some of the other known causes.

There are the 11 plus exam, the Common Entrance exam for Oxbridge places, the “GCE” and “A Level” exams all crowding on the student. .For the parent, tutoring is an option to beat the odds. However, there is no scientific answer as to how much tutoring, is the correct amount. There is also no doubt that some tutoring helps, while too much can be completely counterproductive.


As a rule of thumb, if a tutor recommends more than two (2) hours of tuition a week, over a lengthy period or is insisting your child attends expensive extra sessions either after class or at home, parents should ask, who these extra sessions are going to benefit – their child or the tutor and their bank balance.

Overseas Study

With all avenues of migration closed, particularly overseas employment, there is a general feeling among young Sri Lankans that the post graduate route overseas, is the best way of getting a Visa abroad, in search of a job tomorrow. Hardly do they realise, that leaving our shores on the pretext of furthering education abroad, can also lead to a burn out of aspiration, talent and wherewithal.

It is a known fact that Colleges and Universities are enticing overseas students to enrol for post graduate studies abroad. Britain is the second most popular destination for overseas graduates and students behind the United States. As overseas students make up as much as three fourths of full time students studying for a Master’s degree, education is a luxury many can hardly afford, say those who have enrolled for a course, “Taste of Work” at one northern British University.

Opting for the “University of Work” instead?

With undergrads in UK finishing their degrees with debts of £50,000 or more, now shun further studies in UK and opt for work placements, foreign post graduates are having to pay even higher uncapped fees at British Universities.

Do they know it will be a burn out of wealth from abroad for an education without work?

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