In almost a week's time Tenth and Twelfth standard results were declared. Past generation used to wait and listen to the announcement of their results on radio. They also used to get very less marks as compared to today's generation. With the change in technology, students get more marks than previous generations. It is good that our youth are getting high marks but the problem is that despite high scores, most of our students are not able to crack competitive exams at senior secondary level or become innovators, scientists or social scientists. Doing a job is probably not the only purpose of education. Education should result in groundbreaking work which is helpful to humanity. It seems that our students are trained to get good marks which is done by stressing on rote memory but still lack skills and critical approaches of learning.
We have sadly not produced many remarkable scientists (some examples are Dr. Khalid Shah, Dr.Khuroo, Dr.Mir Faizal etc) but we are yet to produce any Nobel laureate. when it comes to competitive exams, our students do not perform commensurate to their scores. It could also be due to lack of support and resource available in the community. Hardly more than three odd students enter prestigious IITs at B.Tech level. Despite having fifty percent quota for JK students in N.I.T Srinagar hardly 15% of our students get admission in N.I.T Srinagar, which is the top engineering college in the valley. It has been more than a decade that any of our student has qualified prestigious A.I.I.M.S. Despite getting good marks, we need to assess that what are the reasons that our students fail to qualify competitive exams or become innovators or scientists?
Many reasons could contribute to this. For instance, our teaching system is totally different. In science stream we teach history of science rather than aptitude of science. We focus more on theory than numerical part which is required to qualify competitive exams. Our students are very bad in mathematics. Our students consult low grade books which are not very useful rather than books like Resnick Halliday . Staying updated and in sync with the national level is necessary to move forward.
Secondly, our examination system, especially paper setting is despicable. We ask theory based questions not the numerical which are asked in competitive exams.
Our non governmental organizations can play an important role in this regard. They can conduct seminars, conduct parent and children counselling, train teachers for teaching them effective and strategic teaching methodologies.They can start concepts like super 30 as was done in Bihar which is run by Anant Kumar in which they train top thirty students for IIT JEE exams and more than 25 students qualify every year.
Focusing on practical part of examination is necessary. State tried to conduct super 50 but miserably failed. Most of the teachers and students take this part very easily and examination of this part isn't taken seriously. How can we produce scientists, innovators, technocrats in such circumstances ?
Some parents also pressurize their children to go for particular field like medicine or engineering when their aptitude is different. However, these students who don't do good in sciences sometimes could do better in humanities, sports etc. Parents need to understand that children are individuals and are not born to fulfil parent's vicarious career dreams. The students need to choose and channel their field of interest. One of the worst things our society faces is that we don't have counselling cells where students could be counselled in schools or colleges rather we have counselling cell in the university where students is already set in their career path. Having counselling at school level is a necessary step.
Students and society need to understand if a student couldn't do better in competitive exams or fails in any school, he could do much better in some other area of life. Schools, exams, scores, grades are certainly not the only ways to judge a students worth. Risking wellbeing of children to this exam mania should email not be done extensively. Albert Einstein who changed whole modern physics was expelled from school. Present day great physicist, John Moffat, had no formal education – no graduation, no post graduation. He got direct admission to PhD under Nobel laureate, Dr. Salam. Satya Nadella, presently C.E.O of Microsoft did his B Tech from average Manipal institute of technology not from any IIT. Pranav Mistry, global head research of Samsung and who gave concept and invented sixth sense technology did his B Tech from average Nirma institute of technology not from any big school. Average students can also be stars with support and encouragement. Running after scores and big institutions also shouldn't become a blinding pattern.
Let's allow our students to choose their career, never discourage them, whether they get 98% or 62%. Acceptance, support and encouragement can help them shine. Understanding that our kids in Kashmir live under tremendous stress and insecurity can help parents be more supportive and appreciative of children, whether they pass exams or fail. Our youth needs education and encouragement not just a tag.