Well, it seems to me that governments like to crow about how well educated their children are and so they put pressure on the education system to produce measurable results. The education system puts pressure on the teachers, and so teachers have to put pressure on the kids. And that leaves the kids with the weight of it all on their young shoulders.
And there’s another agenda being played out, too. It seems to me that people all over the developed world are becoming more competitive, more desperate for ‘success’ to give meaning to their lives and power to their all-important egos (which free market economic manipulators do so love to engage with.) And how do we define success in the developed world? Almost exclusively by the prosperity quotient. The more prosperous you are, the more successful you’re deemed as being. And the route to prosperity is a better job and the route to a better job is a better education. So the parents, who mostly – and rather foolishly – believe that this is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, get in on the act and put their own pressure on the kids.
Meanwhile, the kids have nowhere to hide. They don’t even have anywhere to run except to the Childline advice service which is reporting a substantial increase in the number of children begging for help with their depression, anxiety, sleepless nights, suicidal tendencies, and so on. Some kids handle the pressure well enough, but an awful lot don’t.
So do I have a solution to propose? No. The train of money madness, ego-mania and success perception is gathering speed and something needs to apply the brakes. Apart from a sudden and unlikely sea change in the human condition, I have no idea what that something might be.