Ramadan and exams coming together pose challenges for parents and students. The days are long while the summer season is quite tough in Pakistan. However, the blessings of the holy month of Ramadan provide the moral strength that a student needs during exams.
Children need to stay hydrated in order to remain healthy and to concentrate on their studies. Hence parents need to keep a close eye on what their children are eating during Ramadan. According to Dr Jalil Ahmed Alvi, Specialist Paediatrics Shaikh Khalifa Hospital, Umm al Quwain, the following tips can help students meet their needs of fasting and studying:
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water in Iftar and Sehri
- Eat healthy things like fruits and vegetables and avoid things that make you thirsty like deep fried items
- Study after iftar and complete your sleep during the day
- Stay indoors to avoid dehydration due to exposure to the sun
- Refrain from physical activity during the fast
In Non-Muslim countries there have been lots of controversies about fasting especially amongst young students. For example, in Germany The Professional Association of Paediatricians urge Muslim parents not to let their children fast during Ramadan this year. However, UK’s National Health Services (NHS) does not think the same, “It’s a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practice fasting for a few hours at a time.”
Definitely you need to monitor your child’s health and lifestyle to make sure he remains healthy while fasting during his exams. Provided that he is a normal healthy child and he can bear his educational burden, there is no harm in fasting. If you feel he is getting over-burdened you can ask him to skip a few in between.
Schools need to play their part in providing necessary support to their students:
- Teacher support before and during the exam for enhancing their morale
- Exam halls should be comfortable i.e. properly ventilated, appropriate temperature, spacious etc.
- Make them read Ramadan Duas before the examination starts to increase their confidence
Parents and friends should also provide emotional support to students who are fasting and preparing for exams. Many students have combined study sessions with their friends via whatsapp after iftar till sehri while others study at sehri time. Whatever timetable a child chooses, as a parent be there for your child and ensure that he is eating well. Lack of sleep can cause problems with the fast as well as the study regime so make sure your child is sleeping well.
To students my advice is to set revision timetables that are realistic. Regular revision with short breaks would help you focus. Short naps in the afternoon will help you regain your energy after the exam. Don’t leave anything for last minute study. Simply go through things already revised when a few minutes are left for the exam.
All the best!