Prakash Javadekar’s invitation!
The hon’ble HRD minister Mr.Prakash Javadekar has asked people and experts and parents for suggestions as to how to reduce the burden on the 10th and the 12th standard exams which have become a scandal in India. In no other country the bureaucratic hold on the administration of education had reached such ridiculous proportions. Even the Prime Minister takes time off to exhort the students to take the exams in a right spirit.
It is a great pity that in India where the education sector has become one of the fastest growing commercial education sector where money plays such a debilitating role and where the poor suffer a lot and we see the RTE act is drawing a good deal of the poor and the deprived to seek entry into the well-run private schools. More so in urban centers the schools are mushrooming everyday, at every nook and corner with all sorts of fancy or bogus names, the government as the largest education provider is simply letting off things out of its purview.
Also as a comical side we see the ministers talking off hand every time, asking the CBSE to cut by half the syllabus or reduce the burden as if it is a simple task. Education malpractices have become another scam. In UP we saw large scale desertion of exams by the school students.
In some other states the question paper leaks is another of the headache. In the meantime, the deputy education minister has also entered into big time controversies.
We don’t know the qualifications of the hon’ble minister Mr.Satyapal Singh. He takes on Charles Darwin and even Issac Newton! And where are the yesteryear scientists who are all still with us?
They have to fall silent given their own self-respect and self-effacement in the context of these new comedies we are all enacting, be it science or history rewriting and what have you. May be the time and tide will change and a new sense of realism would come to Indian affairs and Indian search for some objectivity and balance in what we want to do with the power we have acquired for the first time.
We request the educators and others engaged in education reforms that we have to do something to reduce the education and exam burden on the youngsters. We need experts to come out with their own suggestions. As far as this Journal is concerned the founders of this Journal and a rural high school in a remote village and the founders had education at Santiniketan and Oxford and also after founding the rural school, we found the rural children found the formal exam at the end of the academic year hard and so we introduced what we call an “open book exam”! The children can consult the text books and write their answers. The questions were set in such a way that students have to exercise their own skills in framing the answers! Of course, there was opposition from both the teachers and the students!
But such an education reform has been attempted by many progressive schools in Europe, particularly in Switzerland. We also visited many such schools in Switzerland and many years later in 1971 in some of the French Lycees! The point is that we have to experiment and reform and change. There is no fixed way in a field like education.
May be one new version could be to introduce a continuous assessment system so that the boy or the girl’s whole year’s performance can be taken for final year pass! So that the children don’t feel obsessed with final exam preparations that have now become a scandal of unprecedented nature and scale!