Examination system in India

“If I am lucky enough, I’ll get that set which is the easiest”

–         This is what our Indian education system is like: one that has CHANCE as a very big role-player in its format.

 In “A Study in Scarlet” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes tells John Watson that it is futile to know too many things if one is not going to use them. Wouldn’t it be really beneficial for students interested in Einstein and Gay-Lusac’s Law to devote more time to them than to study how Shakespeare interpreted life?

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At a cursory glance there are plenty of things that could be said to be wrong with the education system in India. To start with education in India does not cover each and every child in the country. Then there is the ever increasing gap between the government owned institutions and the private ones as far as factors like quality and facilities are concerned. However, there is one issue that has always escaped the notice of the stakeholders – the common people, the authorities, the teachers and also the students perhaps and that is the system of exams in India.

One of the major problems with the Indian education system, as it stands now, is the way examinations are being conducted. It has been the same over the years where the students have went to an examination hall, then given an examination in a short time where they are supposed to give their best with respect to the questions that they face and then waited for the results. Quite often it has been seen that guys who have prepared all the year have suffered nerves on the big day or some other problem and then had a poor exam while someone who got questions he or she was acquainted with had a terrific examination and then basically had a good result.

The biggest problem is that there is way too much question of chance involved over here – anything could happen and that could unsettle even the best of students. In order to offset this problem we are nowadays seeing new systems being introduced such as mid-term or semester examinations and unit tests. All these are better as they provide students with a lighter schedule that allows them to branch out to other areas of life such as sports and extracurricular pursuits such as music or drawing which is where their main talent lies. However, the major problem with this scenario is that it encourages students to study for marks and remember things for the short term – only to forget them by the time the next examination happens.

The main purpose of education is to educate students and help them appreciate the better points of the knowledge that is being imparted to them. However, that seems to have been shortchanged right now with the added emphasis on grades and marks. The system needs to be one that enables students to truly learn what they are being taught and internalize it and not just mug it up for a few days or months. It needs to be more long term than what the situation is at present. At the same time it also needs to be practical so that the students’ abilities are properly tested.

What are the solutions to this problem?

  • More of practical and only that much theoretical to be imparted as helps with carrying out the practical.
  • Creativity instead of bookish knowledge to be preferred.
  • Learning while practicing, i.e., lessons that are taught via practical/assignments.
  • Project works should form a part of class work and not holiday homework, to avoid it being done by parents’ or tuition teacher’s help.
  • Make that subject a compulsory subject to pass, in which lies the student’s interest and not ALL, which will in turn reduce undue pressure.
  • Application of the ‘flipped classroom’ method of teaching.
  • Make availability for both oral and written exams, in which both forms of examination holds equal number of marks division.

Not many know that India is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to student suicide and given the breakneck nature of present day life things may only get worse a few years down the line. Perhaps it is the duty of the ones in power as well as the parents and teachers in India to make sure that such incidents are less in number and we have a young generation that is doing what it loves to do rather than trying to achieve something that is clearly beyond its capabilities and then fail and end oneself while trying to get to that impossible aim.

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