Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Removal of Xth board exams

On June 26th , Hindustan headlined, " Khatam Hogi Dasvi Board Pariksha" (The 10th Board exam will be removed). Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal announced the government's path-breaking decision to do away with the Class X Board exams and make it optional, and stressed on the need to de-traumatize education. It basically covered the following points...
1. Children are entitled to have free knowledge. (No registration fees would be required up till Std 12th)
2. A bill would be passed in the current session regarding this.
3. Pressure on children at a very young age due to the current system.
4. To bring the Madarsa Board in the main stream education system.
5. To allow direct foreign funds to the educational institutions.
6. Children are not able to cope up with the 10th boards and only 11 out of every 100 children make it up to College (graduation).
I wouldn’t comment on allowing direct foreign funds to the educational institutions, because I do not have much idea about the same. I would support the bringing of Madarsa into mainstream education system. But apart from these two, there is no point of removal of Xth board exams just because of the reasons provided.

If we talk of pressure, I don’t think pressure is much. Renu Balakrishnan, a creative writing teacher, thinks children are forced to study due the pressure of standard Xth boards, thus losing their options of looking at other aspects of life and are deprived of cultivating other skills. (To read her, http://www.rediff.com/news/column/2009/jun/29/why-i-will-not-mourn-the-removal-of-class-ten-board-exam.htm )
Let me take myself and my brother as an example. I had been not so bad a student all my life. I completed my graduation and masters and have been placed in a good company. There had been ups and downs, but that was not due to pressure. My brother had been a very good student all his life. He completed his engineering degree and has been placed in IBM. Both of us had time to play every evening, read about two books each week from the school library, participate in sports, go to a Fine Arts School every Sunday where we were given class work and homework (I had enough time in the weekdays to complete my homework). Later, I learned stitching clothes and I have enjoyed designing and stitching clothes. One would say, the pressure wasn’t so great in those days. But, I don’t think the syllabus has changed that drastically. I help my younger cousin with her studies, sometimes. She is in class 9th. She is a good dancer, she still takes singing lessons. She practices drawing at home, she goes to the playground everyday. And she is a good student. What more do you ask for?
And for students who are under pressure, it is not because of the class 10th boards, but because of their over-ambitious parents. Their parents need a psychologist.
You talk of missing on their childhood due to exams; class 10th boards do not take away the innocence of childhood as much does the reality shows on TV. The dance competitions (Boogie Woogie, I guess), and there is some audition going on with Alka Yagnik and others for the little champs. Have you ever heard those children? We laugh listening to the way they talk. But imagine such a child at home, talking that way on every topic. It shows arrogance, not innocence. If one really wants to preserve childhood innocence please do away with those reality shows involving children. Let them play yaar! Celebrity and Popularity can wait. Let them grow up.

Class 10th board Exams are important because it prepares you for the more important exams ahead. A minimum pressure is required in every field to thrust the performance upwards. At the age of 15, one is not too young not to be able to take up an exam. In fact, it is essential. The exam helps the student to judge a student’s own performance and level of preparation. Kapil Sibal said there are other ways of judging a students worth. I ask what? Percentile? I guess that would be even more stressful. The presnt system gives value to a student's own performance. A student securing 90% marks is not considered that bad compared to a student who secured 92% marks. They are given equal worth. Now imagine, there are 100 students who have secured 92% marks. Percentiles never judge a student's real worth. It is a good process for admission tests. But for performance analyzing, percentiles, relative grading should be avoided. This would also result in more competetions, more pressure beacuse now the performance of the other students would also matter.

There is more to it. Till now I had been talking about the middle class mass of our society. Let us get down to the lower class people, the villagers. The responsibility that Government school teachers (exceptions are always present. I am talking of the more usual ones) take up is very well known. When a poor child studies in a school, he is promoted to upper classes, without performance. So, when he reaches class 10th, and the board examines the papers, he expectedly fails, and this is the reason why only 11 out of every 100 students make up to College. Pressure is not the reason. The reason is underperformance of most of the Govt. schools. If someone really wants to improve the situation, improve the Government Schools. And to add to the negative side, think of this situation. A student is promoted without performing till class 9th. He fails in STD 10th. Once the 10th board exams are done with, he would be promoted till 11th standard. This time he would fail terribly in STD 12th. I do not see how the ratio of 11:100 is going to improve by doing away with the 10th board exams.

I think the Government might have another reason for doing away with the class 10th board exams. A person, who has completed education up to class 10th, has a certificate and can apply for jobs. If this issue of certificate could be delayed by two years, so would the application of jobs be delayed by two years. Moreover, once the 10th board exams has been done away with, lesser students would be pass the 12th board exams and lesser people would be able to apply for jobs. I know, you would say that since the Govt. has no jobs in hand to provide to the people, it is better that lesser people apply. That would reduce the agitation. It would reduce the agitation, I agree. But it would also reduce the literacy percentage. Why cheat people? Why can’t the Government come ahead and look for a better solution. After all that is what the Govt. is for. Have you ever thought how it might be, living the life in poverty? What I want to say is, this is not the solution. Solution lies elsewhere. Solution lies in a proper education. Solution lies in educating Indians.

This is totally my point of view. I might be wrong. Comments, Criticism and views are welcome. I would appreciate if bloggers could post on their own blogs. Please leave me the link. I would love to read.


rupam said...

Excellent article....Thanx>>>>This article has helped me 4 debate....

Mou said...

@ Rupam.
Thanx :)
I am glad it helped you !

Chandan said...

this is very helpful for me Vipul thanx a lot

Chandan said...

thanx a lot vipul

Anonymous said...

Ur view on this topic is awesum. The points are really good and this is really going to help me out for GD...
Thanx a lot again
God Bless You

Priyank said...

Hey thanx..this Article will help me a lot in my GD! In any case it also enlightens one's mind and brings to our realisation that leaders are making big changes for getting into lime-light and making changes for the sake of making changes rather than thinking deeply about the consequences! My younger sister belongs to the batch which will be the first "guinea pig" for this experiment and I'm in no mood to see her future affected!