As soon as grade ten ends, the real drama of life begins – choosing a career path. Since then a student is overburdened with classes and subjects and a very long line of career decisions that they have to make. The real rat-race of life begins as the final examination of grade twelve ends. The student is bombarded with career questions and surrounded by high piles of entrance forms to fill for different universities.
Once that reaches completion, the next task is to cram your head with everything you have done in the last two years to clear the entrance exams. The students do not get over that completely when their board results come out and after that it is a ceaseless wait of anticipation – to see which college they get into. And soon the cut-offs are released – the deciding factor.
I have seen children break down and give up hope once the cut-offs start to release. From the past few years the cut-offs have escalated at a really quick pace. With colleges releasing their first lists at a 100%, an average student is reduced to tears for feel like a nobody. Ninety percent marks which were once applauded and appreciated have now become the new forty percent, for they are unable to get into their first preference college. The general category applicants are especially at the precipice. There are limited seats and ridiculously high cut-offs. It is almost impossible for an average general category applicant to get into any of the decent colleges because the cut-offs are impossibly high.
The aim of promoting all-round development at the school level is completely defeated because nothing other than your academic result matters when you are taking your first step into the real life. The creative side of you, the strengths that you have, all of it is cast aside because they are not regarded. So what does an average student do in this case? The student settles for a college which is not his/her first preference and feels as worthless as he/she could.
The system needs a change. The authorities need to break through the system of reserved seats and value students for who they are, not from the class of people they come from.
Undoubtedly a lot of attention is given to overall personality development in today’s day and time. It is not all about academics anymore. The academically brighter lot is not forced into the science stream against their wishes and the stream of humanities is not filled with academically weaker students anymore. This is because the people are seemingly turning over a new leaf- academic results are not the not the only criteria to assess a person’s aptitude anymore. People have gradually realized that education has many layers and academics forms just one of the many.
Another main issue is restricting the students to specific streams as they reach the most crucial years of their formative years – grades 11 and 12. Perhaps limiting their choice in the final years restricts growth and development as individuals. The lives of grades 11 and 12 CBSE students are nestled in school, coaching and self-studying. The students cannot take out time for anything but the same mundane routine that they have.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is perhaps the best way to turn that around. This board unlike the others allows you to take six subjects from six different groups – the first languages, the second languages, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, the arts. The student has the flexibility to choose the subjects they really enjoy at the level they want – the higher level or the standard level. Along with academics there is a component called the CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) which covers the creative talents like playing an instrument or painting, etc. whereas action covers your sports talents like swimming, basketball, cricket, etc. and finally service covers the service done to community. The next component is called TOK (Theory Of Knowledge) which makes you question everything you know at every step and tickles your mind with curiosity. And finally the last component is that of a four thousand word research document that a student has to undertake which could be done in any of the six subjects that they take.
The wonderful way in which this system is designed pushes the student to develop and grow as an individual and to play by his or her strength. It produces risk-taking, perceptive and thinking individuals who refuse to take anything that is thrown at them until they do not question and analyze everything that they are presented with. It promotes all-round development and forces the leader out in every student. The student does not have to spend hours just cramming off textbooks because that would not help. Instead they would have to understand and fully engage with the concept not just inside a class but outside as well which makes them understand it better.
As it is a foreign board of education, it is not a very popular choice over the central or the state boards of education, however it really is a brilliant programme designed that is run by the student him/herself.