Yes, marks do matter. In most of the cases. At most of the places. For most of the people.

Of course, there are outliers who make it big despite not having a big score on their report card. But the numbers are far few and between. And there is a reason why they are outliers. Because, fortunately or unfortunately, as a norm, marks do matter.

Education system is the very foundation of any society. However flawed, it is that system which determines that linearity, progression and development of a student. At least in the formal education space.

I can only speak for myself, but, I can speak for myself with full authority. And whatever little I have achieved till now – professionally AND academically – it is all because of the marks. Be it at the school level, graduation, or post-graduation. Or competitive entrance exams, for that matter. Nobody told me marks don’t matter. Or they do. As a matter of fact, it was never a question. At the end of the day, it is the theory of evolution. And to survive and secure a spot for yourself in the race, you have no choice but to stay ahead of the pack.

My 10th standard board marks may not matter today, at five years of work experience post a PG degree, but that doesn’t mean that we forget the importance of those marks in the scheme of things. Admit it or not, but 10th standard marks determine the subjects you end up choosing for the higher secondary school. And in my case, they ended up changing the course of my life. I wanted to study science, but could not because of the inadequate score. I had to take up commerce as a consolation prize (that’s another story that I ended up loving it!), which I absolutely hated at that point. Moving forward, 12th standard marks determine the choice of college AND choice of subjects. And so on and so forth.

I’m all for not putting pressure on our kids and letting them thrive. But this whole brouhaha that marks don’t matter is taking it too far. We have to be realistic. How many dropouts have you seen succeeding in the regular course of life? And the ones who do, do not ‘because’ they dropped out/ scored less marks. But they succeed despite dropping out/ scoring less marks. Unfortunately, there are only limited spots for success, and the chances are, someone much better, brighter, and determined is already fighting for that spot, reducing the odds for your success.

So let’s not be delusional. Let’s not make our kids live in delusion. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the kids should see it for what it is. And if they are okay with the repercussions of scoring less marks and being left behind in the race, let THEM make that choice. As for the most of the world, marks do matter. Like it or not.