Rote-based exam system must go

The editorial “De-stressing exams” (March 26) rightly observes that our education is rote-based and examinations are a test of students’ memory and hardly tell anything about his intellectual capabilities. In schools and colleges, students are made to prepare for the examinations right from the beginning as if examination is the final truth about education.

Our tragedy lies in mistaking the means for the end. Our toppers today are mostly the students who have excellent memories.  Brilliant brains are in short supply and examinations have turned millions of students into average people, distrustful of original thinking, never venturing into innovation. What saddens me most is the fact that most students take up higher studies only to get jobs. 

This is one leg of the pursuit of knowledge. They must move on to create further frontiers of knowledge too. Our education system today, which is examination-oriented, doesn’t encourage free thinking and innovation. That is why, excellence finds a better climate in foreign lands where it is not examination, but personal assets of intelligence and intellectual capability which finally matter.

A reconsideration of the whole system is in order. The Union HRD ministry has done well to set the ball rolling.

Dr J.S. ANAND, Principal, DAV College, Bathinda




Dandi March: then & now

Mahatma Gandhi undertook Dandi March 75 years ago to force the British government to withdraw the anti-poor salt tax. What the Congress leaders, Ms Sonia Gandhi and others have done recently was sheer hypocrisy.

Instead, why don’t they stage a protest march to force the Indian government, ironically their own, to address Mahatma’s other concerns like illiteracy, poverty, social inequality, caste system, child labour, child marriage which exist even today? The Mahatma didn’t live long after Independence to complete the task, but how about those who lived and ruled the country all these years? For God’s sake, let us leave dramatics aside and do some useful work for a change.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Mess in schools

Large-scale absenteeism among the teachers and their indifferent performance do vitiate the academic atmosphere. Teaching is a pious profession. However, many teachers work in a slipshod manner with the result that many students use unfair means in examinations. Even some teachers help them in this regard.

Once while travelling in a bus, I heard some passengers talking about certain teachers, who indulged in drinking bouts and played cards in schools during working hours. A few days ago, a teacher in a government senior school beat up the principal, who called him to hand over his transfer orders. The teacher allegedly teased a woman colleague. Can such a teacher guide pupils in the right direction?

Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla said recently that the government schools did not provide quality education and even a peon sent his children to a private school. His forthright comments reminded me of Tilok Chand Mahroom’s couplet: “Jo ik nigaah sey kartey they khaak ko akseer / Kahaan gaey voh mo’allam voh mehrbaan ustaad?” (Where have gone those kind pedagogues and teachers, who transformed dust into elixir with a single look at it?)

It is time the authorities exercised effective supervision and gingered up the perfunctory teachers to pull their weight and show better results.


Religious tolerance

The middle “The harbinger of renaissance” (March 25) was interesting. We have so compartmentalised religious beliefs that our general awareness about festivals of other religions is generally poor. There is nothing wrong in knowing about other religions while professing your own. It in no way dilutes your faith in your own religious belief.

A subject of general awareness should be compulsorily included in the curricula of all the school boards. It is a dire need in a multi-religious country like ours, to inculcate fellow feeling and inter-religious tolerance.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Unfair comparison

I read the editorial “Neighbourhood schooling: The idea has a lot to commend itself” (March 28). It would be wrong to compare the so-called public schools with the government-run schools. In studies, the public schools’ performance is better than the government schools. The reason: in the former, the time spent on extra-curricular activities and games etc is made up by taking extra classes and thus their students do not stand to lose. This is not so in the government schools.

Most parents, belonging to middle and lower classes with low income, prefer to send their wards to public schools. The number of students seeking admission in medical and engineering colleges through entrance examinations is higher than those coming out of the government schools.

Though public schools charge hefty fee, their students’ success in the entrance tests to the professional colleges is assured and their future career becomes secure. Will the government schools ever be run on the lines of public schools?

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari  (Hamirpur)

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