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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Failed HSC and SSC students to be allowed ATKT

This is the best news I've heard since the possible scrapping of board exams even though I am not a student anymore - at least not of the formal education system. It's really been a bouquet of riches unleashed by the HRD ministry and I must sing paeans to Mr Kapil Sibal. He's a brave man no doubt!
There's surely going to be a flurry of opposition from educational institutions and parents.Ever since the exam system was introduced, educational institutions and most parents( I'd not like to paint the liberal ones with the same brush) used it as a lever to motivate. threaten, cajole and force their children into achieving their(parents) own unfulfilled dreams and desires. And at what cost? The rising graph of youth( 15-35age group)suicides speaks for itself. It's been sheer hell for these students who had to strain beyond their god given talents to prove to the world and their relatives that they are capable of doing 'well' in the accepted systemised way! No one bothered to understand that children have different talents and these are the talents that need to be natured by the education system, not ones thrust on them by societal expectations. So the so called 'weak in studies' had to not only join classes for which their parents paid a fortune, they also had to work twice as hard to score a bearable(read pass marks)score. Why this travesty has been going on for years without anyone being the wiser , is anybody's guess. It has a lot to do with corruption, power and sheer lack of will on the part of the ministry and society at large or else the system would have been reformed much earlier.
The Atkt system is bound to cause a great deal of confusion before it settles down and integrates itself into the minds and hearts of the powers that be. kids who have been at the recieving end of the system so far will find it beneficial and kids and parents who have been able to beat the system and achieve sterling results will find themselves cheated of their aims and ambitions. It must be understood that change is never easy, even if it is for the better. Only sustained effort can make change a positive phenomenon. The HRD ministry has it's work cut out for itself to convince the naysayers about the efficacy of this newbie and I am glad that Mr Kapil Sibal is more than likely to be able to face up to the challenge! At least he seems to be up to it...
I for one am all for abolishing all forms of exams at the school level. Children must be given projects to work on and grades must be assigned to them on the basis of the effort they put in. Exams at the school stage are meaningless because they only promoted rote learning, inequality between the haves and the have-nots and also sets up a different sort of class barrier, one that becomes impossible to bridge!
It's ok to have exams at the college level starting from class eleven where students have 35% theory, 50 % objectives and the rest should be for project work evaluation. Knowledge must be promoted and not rote learning. At this level students must be allowed to express themselves in their own words based on their understanding of what they have learnt and the theory marks must be accorded to them accordingly. The system should be such that no one should feel left out. Everyone should have a fair chance of doing well provided they work hard emough. Teachers must be taught practical motivational psychology so that they have a better understanding of their charges. They themselves must be evaluated on their ability to motivate their charges into a better performance and not by the marks that their charges obtain. Any positive change must be praised and rewarded.
The last point I'd like to make is that there should be no age barrier in learning. Every institution must abolish the age specific and enroll anyone willing to earn irrespective of his age, background, qualifications or ability to pay fees. In this way education itself can be demystified and the countless illiterates that dot our country's humanity will find it easier to cme into the system and stay to learn for a longer duration.
These are changes that our system needs badly...what say you???


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