What does it really test!

The purpose of education is not to pass and succeed in examination, but to be successful in life
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Representational ImageFile/ GK

God only knows at which cursed moment, and who in this world got this dumb idea of exams! For sure, he must have been a sadist to give the notion of exams. Honestly, does it not cross anyone’s mind, how unfair, senseless and worthless these exams are? Why can’t Educationists, or those in power positions ask simple questions based on common sense? writes Sanjiv Shah in his book Exam ki Aisi ki Taisi.

Exam! Regarded as a terrible word. When it approaches near is enough to run a chill down our spine. “To Hell with the exams’’ attitude doesn’t imply that we do not need to learn. The purpose of education is not to pass and succeed in examination, but to be successful in life. The fact is that the youth of every student passes in rising through the ladder of learning, facing examinations at every step. Present examination has nothing to do with the real worth, talent or interest of a child. It has its own measuring rod and the success rate depends upon retention power of a student, even if he has no understanding of the content. This gives rise to rote learning and cramming.

The Jammu & Kashmir BOSE conducts examinations for classes 10th, 11th and 12th every year. The question papers are set in every subject much ahead of examination and an expert committee checks to see if it follows the Board standards. A paper setter has to take into consideration all students and not only the brilliant ones. The Physics paper of 12th standard in the annual examination was so confusing and unexpected that on the very first sight the students began sweating profusely despite chill. In many examination centers there were scenes of student crying, while others felt nervous.

The reasons are many—some are mindful of getting top rank, some are stressed about getting high grades and some are anxious about just passing exams. It has been observed that if a student fails in a particular subject just by two or three marks, the subject deity prevails upon him/ her in such a way that later on he/ she is unable to clear the subject in one go. The questions are generally asked from a small portion of the syllabus. One may not know that particular portion and that is not sufficient to prove one is weak in that subject. Everyone knows that students are facing an unprecedented situation from mid 2019.

Covid-19 Pandemic forced the closure of all educational institutions, and only a limited number of students could avail online mode of learning. The online teaching-learning is in no way a substitute for normal class room teaching-learning, as we are lagging in the necessary infrastructure and advanced ICT gadgets. The students are already in stress as they remained confined to their homes. If online teaching is taken as a substitute, what about those students of a school in Kupwara having only two permanent lecturers to teach 900 students ( high-lighted few days back). There are many more such examples where against a sanctioned strength of 14 lecturer posts only a few are working. Has anybody assessed their learning level and exam preparedness. When it comes to conduction of examinations the BOSE claims that adequate heating arrangements are in place, but students had to face the biting cold in the absence of proper heating arrangements. It also looks strange that the supervisory staff meant for ensuring smooth conduct, indulge in talks and students who desperately need calm and try recalling in their minds get distracted. Few years back fifteen minutes were given to the examinees for question paper reading on the analogy of CBSE. The irony is that the pattern of question papers introduced here is now a CBSE pattern, but devoid of providing any reading time - a great injustice. In such situations, how can we blame our students for low performances when teaching and other flaws do exist. It is never too late for all the stake holders to sit together and address the inadequacies to ease the tension of students.

Mir Mohammad Gulzar is former Principal, DIET Budgam

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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