12 November 2012

Character Certificate Misunderstood and Abused

Schools hold Character Certificate of a child as hostage and demand ransom of good discipline from them. It's also used as the ultimate weapon of punishment. It's a confidential document that the child gets to see only when he leaves the school. Therefore, Character Certificate is misunderstood and abused. But the true intention of this life defining document was never spelled out and therefore this heavy paper weighed very light so far. It's now coming into the light with Educating for GNH spirit, it may take time but the greatest achievement is in having it started.
Because we were brought up in such environment we look at our children through the same belief that a child is worth his scores in his marksheet. The toppers are praised in school and at home, they are favorites of teachers and parents. Colleges want them, job markets await them. Of course, these children do deserve the massive attention they are receiving, there is no way we can afford to compromise that but we must realize that we are just looking at the academic intelligence and worse using that to measure children's worth.
His majesty always stressed on "Emotional Intelligence" when talking to children. Emotional Intelligence is not something we can find among high marks alone. Emotional Intelligence defines a good human being but by giving absolute importance to marksheet we are totally disregarding the true worth of our children. Character certificate, if used correctly, can not only acknowledge those emotionally intelligent kids but also groom the normal children into achieving that goodness.
Character Certificates contains 10 Personal Qualities, which defines an emotionally intelligent child.

  1. Leadership Quality
  2. Punctuality
  3. Honesty & Integrity
  4. Willingness to Adapt to Rules
  5. Respect for others
  6. Civic Sense
  7. Creativity
  8. Participation in activities
  9. Work Ethics
  10. Conduct

We have always seen and used this document but we have never known it well. Children should see and understand every personal quality with specified criteria (See the sample Rubrics) and given opportunity and motivation to build on those qualities.

Mark Sheet
Character Certificate
Measures academic performance
Identifies academically sound children
Guarantees a good Job
Measures Human values
Identifies good human being
Guarantees a good Life

The most painful question is, why invest so much in something that no one will even look at? That is something Educating for GNH going to change eventually, one day Marksheet and Character Certificate will weigh the same. This is a big change in system and mentality that requires lots of time to set up. The best place to begin is the schools. Schools can already start investing in human values in their little ways.

Current status of Character Certificate 
Expected Role of Character Certificate
It’s a confidential document
It’s marked once in a year
It’s marked at the end of the year
It threatens the children
It’s used as a weapon
Only bad character certificate has effect on the child’s career, good certificate go unnoticed.
It's a summative assessment.
It should be a mirror to the child on daily basis
It should be marked several times in a year
It should be marked in the beginning, middle and end of the year to motivate.
It should motivate children
It should be used as a guiding tool
Good Character certificates should  be given due importance
It should be Formative assessment.

With strong system in place Character Certificate can redefine that way human world functions; we will not only have the most intelligent people governing us but also the good human beings. Intelligence alone is only capable of making great stuffs like nuclear weapons, it takes emotional intelligence to build homes and make live saving drugs. 
This is what intelligence without emotion does!


  1. Passu,
    I dont know whether to cry or laugh or whatever....but I have a very funny incident to share with you......

    I was in Sherubtse college for nearly 3 years and I had different class teacher each year. But when I finally passed out in 2003, I had a class teacher with whom i had ZERO association.....and she was the person to finally fill up my character certificates.....I don't know on what basis she graded me but i ended up getting most average and some even below average......

    But fortunately, I think, It didd't play any major part in any of my job interviews....

    Yea, like said, I am still not clear as to the real meaning and intention of that character certificates....

  2. Sir, a very informative for 'still students' who are evaluated like me la. Thanks!
    Mark sheets are only one way towards evaluating a person.With innovation and evolution I think now every organization and institutions are gradually knowing the role of character certificate.

  3. I agree with you on many aspects as to how ones with authority should fill it and why it should be filled. However, considering many factors at play, I will go with your opening sentence, "Schools hold Character Certificate of a child as hostage and demand ransom of good discipline from them." Demanding goodness that will eventually help them at the end is not bad.

  4. Hello Passu Sir,
    I really liked the highlight made with The current status of the Character Certificate and the Expected role of the Character Certificate.

    I was going through the contends of the character certificate over and again and a thought clicked on... that as long as students keep up with the rules and regulations, there is nothing to worry about what we may be marked on the character certificate (Okie, this is my basement for being a good student).

    I guess, this character covers up as a back up for our Mark sheet as well and it should work hand in hand. And whoever is checking on the character certificate should really know the student. IT IS REALLY A BIG DEAL FOR THE THEM IN THEIR FUTURE.

  5. Dear Kuenzang, Nobu, Tshewang, and Yeesi,
    Thanks for reading this piece. There are many aspects I wanted to cover but when I get deep into one subject I fail to write it therefore I just sat and at least wrote the summary.

    One part we always ignored is the silent, simple, and timid students. They are considered good students because they never created problem. But these children are actually the ones who need help. They need to build on their character. They should know school is the place where they have to discover themselves rather than remaining timid and silent. So, with the effective use of Character Certificate these kids will move forward in life...
    Character "Certificate" is a wrong name given to the document.

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