Scooby Dooby Doo and
a mother’s dilemma
Move to grading system
Dooby Doo and
a mother’s dilemma
What is the name of Richie Rich’s dog? What is the name of Flintstone’s baby? Can you tell the names of the three Power Puff girls? These were the questions posed to children at a birthday party for a five-year-old. The children vied with each other to answer the questions and win prizes. I, as a mother, boasted till that day that my son was not a cartoon-network freak, as I did not allow him to watch cartoons for more than half an hour. I had heard mothers say that television was a wonderful babysitter.
I had then resolved that my son would not be at the mercy of a Dexter or a Scooby Dooby Doo, so although exhausted from work, I played with him for hours. The game not only helped rejuvenate my tired bones, but also kept my son away from the idiot box and created a lovely bond between us. However, that birthday party confused me.
My son looked at me with accusing eyes, for he could not answer any question. Winning was never a big issue for my child, but participation was important and there he was, missing out on even that aspect. I wondered if I was depriving him of something crucial for his age. I was trying to frame clarifications.
What has happened to the good old birthday games that we played as kids? The games were simple and encouraged participation and enjoyment. With time, our games have changed. We all complain of rising violence among our children and even scold our kids if they use foul language, and then we encourage them to watch cartoons on TV.
Most of the cartoons aired on TV do not depict our society. They are made by the people of an advanced, western society, for an audience whose folklore isn’t as rich as our culture. Their visuals carry no moral lesson for the child.
We had our Amar Chitra Kathas, which narrated history in a child-friendly language with the use of pictures that looked pleasant to the eye. The morals were imbibed in the children in a holistic manner. We were introduced to Maharaja Ranjit Singh or Shivaji with subtlety. The stories had an aesthetic appeal and were in harmony with our environment. Our culture was transferred to the next generation and one stage of socialisation was taken care of in a responsible manner. The moral of the story was further reinforced with the elders in the family narrating the story again at bedtime.
Today, we are exhausted after the long day in office, so while we become couch potatoes, we also encourage our children to follow suit. What are we trying to do?
We teach them what we do not want them to follow in the long run. We want them to sway to our tunes and at the same time ask them to be independent. What is wrong with us? When my son asked me the question, I had an answer for him. I told him to remain alert and take such games like any other sport, and not lose heart if he did not win. I was happy with my resolution: not to let television take my place in my son’s life, and I am a happy mom for that.
Move to grading system
Although, according to the University Education Commission (1948-49), education “is not exotic in India,” some of the practices it uses are. One of these is the method by which the written work of the students—examination scripts, home assignments, tutorials or seminar papers—is evaluated. There are two main methods for doing this: the 101-point scale and the grading system.
The 101-point scale is based on the principle of cardinal numbers in which performance is expressed by a number denoting quantity. A student may be awarded 1, 10, 27, 63, 87, or 93 marks out of 100. Although, initially, 1 mark was intended to be the minimum unit and the numerical score could vary between 0 and 100, the examiners started giving even fractions of 1 in course of time. Points 0 to 100 add up to 101. That is why the scale got this name. For a long time, educational institutions in India have used the 101-point scale that was borrowed from the British. Gradually, the system is discarding this method in favor of the grading system, which is the practice in the American schools, colleges, and universities.
The grading system is based on the principle of ordinal numbers in which performance is expressed by a number that denotes a position or a rank in a series. Though there are large-scale variations in the grading system in vogue, the most common is the five-point scale with Grade A, B, C, D, and E. Grade A indicates “excellent” or “outstanding”, B indicates “very good” or “above average”, C indicates “good” or “average”, D “pass”, and E “failure”. Teachers who want finer gradation add + or – to a letter grade. Thus C+ is a little above average and C- is just a shade below average.
To understand the difference between the two scales, let us take an example from a different field. Let there be three students: Anil, Sunil, and Sanjay. When we say Anil is taller than Sunil and Sunil is taller than Sanjay, we are simply ranking them according to their height. However, when we say, Anil is 165 cm, Sunil 160 cm, and Sanjay 148 cm, we are also indicating the difference in their height quantitatively.
The former is ordinal ranking, the latter cardinal. We could take another example. Let us say, there are three beverages: milk, coffee, and cola. When we say Emma prefers milk to coffee and coffee to cola, we are simply ranking Emma’s preference by “more or less”, not “how much more” and “how much less”. The former underlines the ordinal principle, the latter cardinal principle.
In some fields, both ordinal and cardinal principles can be used, but not in all fields. The reason why in the academic field the system is gradually discarding the 101-point scale based on cardinal numbers is that students’ written performance cannot be measured quantitatively. In the first place, the marks are only “raw marks” and not “true marks”.
No one knows what marks assigned to an answer stand for: a student’s scholarship, her analytic power, her capability to memorise the subject, her ability to organise an answer, her felicity of expression, or a combination of some of these elements and more. Where elements are known and clearly defined, how does one go about quantifying them? How does one measure in cardinal numbers a student’s capacity to organise her answer or the literary grace that she may have imparted to her narration? This is what we do when we measure a student’s performance with the 101-point scale.
The statistical exercises based on Indian data carried out by an expert group show that there is a 50 per cent chance that the error imparted to a mark is upward of 5 per cent.
This implies that a candidate getting 52 per cent marks could have been given 55 per cent marks, which gives her high second division, or 49 per cent marks, which places her in the third division. Could one imagine a more absurd situation?
The case for the grading system appears to be beyond any doubt. It has already been adopted by many countries and is working extremely well. The five-point grade system is to be preferred to the seven-point, nine-point or even eleven-point grade system because it neatly corresponds to the current certification of students into five categories based on the 101-point scale: first division, upper second division, lower second division, third division, and fail. However, that’s just detail. What matters is accepting the much-delayed systemic change in favor of the grading system. The sooner the better.
Art & Design
The Apparel Training
& Design Centre (ATDC), NBCC Tower, 15 Bhikaji Cama Place, New
Delhi 66 (Sponsd by AEPC M/o Textile, GoI)
1) Diploma in Apparel Mfg Tech (1-yr)
2) Diploma in Knit Garment Mfg Tech (1-yr)
3) Diploma in Fashion Sampling/Co-ord (1-yr)
4) Prodn Supervision & Quality Control Course (6-mth)
5) Pattern/Cutting Master Course (6-mth)
6) Machine Mechanic Course (4-mth)
7) Finishing/Packaging Supervisor Course (3-mth)
8) Sewing Machine Operator Course (3-mth)
9) Measurement Quality Control Course (3-mth)
10) Apparel Merchandising (3-mth)
(Courses are offered at 11 ATDC centers in India. Spl morning classes for wkg people)
For 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7: 10+2.
Selectn: Oral aptitude test/ interview.
Appln F: Send Rs 140/- by DD fvg "Apparel Training & Design Centre" payable at ‘A-223, Okhla Indl. Area, Phase-I, New Delhi 110020.’
Details: Employment News (18-24 Dec).
Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore 560012 (Kar).
Fellowship Programme (YEFP)-2005
Elig: 3rd yr BE/ BTech/BSc (Engg)/ Intgr ME/ MTech.
Birla Institute of
Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani- 333 031 (Raj).
BITS Admission Test (BITSAT)-2005
i) Pilani Campus: BE (Hons), BPharm (Hons), MMS, MSc (Hons), MSc (Tech)
ii) Goa Campus: BE (Hons), MSc (Hons), MSc (Tech)
Elig: 10+2 (PCM, 80%)
Centre for Development
of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), A-34, Phase VIII, Industrial Area,
Mohali 160071 (GoI, M/o Comm & IT)
Advance Diploma CourseS (26
For 1): Dip/BE (Electron/Elect/ Electron & Communication/
Instru/Comp Sc/ Comp Engg/ BSc/MSc (Electron/Comp Sc/IT)/ BCA/ MCA.
Appln F: Apply on plain paper mentioning name, mailing address, educn. Enclose attested copies of certificates and (cash)/DD fvg "Director, CEDTI" payable at Chandigarh to "The Director" at the above address.
Indian Army, DG of Medical Services, (DGMS-4B) AGs Branch, Army HQ, Room No 45, L Block Hutments, New Delhi-110001
BSc Nursing Course (4-yr)
Diploma Gen Nursing
& Midwifery Course (3-yr)
Elig: Indian single females/divorced/legally separated/widows without children with 10+2 (PCB), (1st attempt, 50%). Dob: Jan 1 ’80 — Jan 1 ‘88.
Selectn: Written Test (Feb/ Mar, at 17 centres), Interview & Med exam.
Appln F: Apply on plain paper (21 x 36 cm) in prescribed format with attested copies of relev certs to above add.
Recruitment of Temporary Constables (1620 M/ 380 F posts)
Selection: Physical Efficiency Test/ Interview/ PI
Appln: Register in respective Police Lines of concerned Boards with completed forms on Jan 3
School of Archival Studies, National Archives of India, Janpath, New Delhi 110001
Certificate Course in Archives Admin (Feb 2 - Mar 12)
Elig: Bachelor’s deg. Age Limit for Private Cand: 30 yrs, For Sponsd Cands: 50 yrs.
Appln F: Send in prescribed format with Rs 25/- by DD fvg "Administrative Officer, National Archives of India" to the Director General of Archives, at above add.
Details: Employment News (18-24 Dec).
Tata Institute of Social
Sciences (TISS), PB No 8313, Deonar, Mumbai 400088
1) MA in Social Work (2-yr)
2) MA in Personnel Mgt & Industrial Rel (2-yr)
3) Master of Health Administration (2-yr)
4) Master of Hospital Administration (2-yr)
Elig: For 1, 3 & 4: Bachelor’s degree (50%). For 2): Bachelor’s deg in Arts/ Commerce/ Medicine/ Law/ Nursing (50%) or in Science/ Engineering (55).
Appln F: Send Rs 550/- by DD fvg "Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai" with a self-add env (20 x 25 cm) or d’load from website.
Teaching & Education
Maharshi Dayanand University, Directorate of Distance Education, Rohtak 124001.
BEd (2-yr, Dist)
Elig: Bachelor’s/ PG deg (45%). In-service teachers with 2-yrs wk ex.
Appln F: Send Rs 450/- by DD fvg "Finance Officer, MD University, Rohtak", payable at SBI, MD University branch (Code No. 4734) to the deputy Registrar, Publication Cell, at the above add.
Transportation & Travel
Institute of Tourism
Management (D/o Tourism), MMS Hostel, Moti Mahal, 2, Rana Pratap Marg,
1) PG Dip in Nature Cure & Health Tourism (Yoga, Naturopathy & Herbals, 6-mth)
2) German/French Language (3-mth)
3) Cert Course in Hotel Industry (1-yr)
Selectn: For 1: Written Test/Interview: 28 Jan (For 1) & 29 Jan (For 2 & 3)
Appln F: Send appln on plain paper with DD of Rs. 300/- fvg "Institute of Tourism Management", payable at Lucknow to above add or d’load from website.
JSelectn: Based on merit.
Appln F: d’load from website.
Institute of Management and Technology, Ghaziabad.
Distance Learning courses
1) 3-yr MBA with specialisation in Marketing, HRD, Finance, International Business, Merchant Banking, Operations and Systems.
2) 2-yr MMM.
3) 2-yr Masters in Human Recourses Management
4) 2-yr Masters in Supply Chain Management
Elig: 10+2 Witn 5-yr working experience or graduate in Any discipline
Details: 0161-2421520, 9814153399
— Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING, New Delhi.