Earlier in Forum







Q: What should be done to reform the
examination system?

This is the first instalment of readers’ response

Thrust should be on practical learning

The education system is primarily responsible for the overall development of a country. Sound education policies go a long way in ensuring a robust and vibrant human resource. However, the Indian examination system and its education policies have left a lot to be desired in this regard.

The present examination system judges the academic potential of a student on the basis of his performance in a three-hour test. These three hours are the be-all and end-all as far as his academic future is concerned. This, in turn, puts immense pressure on students to perform well in exams. I suggest the following reforms to improve the examination system: First, we should adopt an objective-type written exam, which is supplemented with subjective-type questions. We should introduce an open-book system in those exams in which the expression of thought matters.

There should be an all-round internal assessment of students at the school level by taking into account their performance in extra-curricular activities. Instead of rote, there should be thrust on practical learning. We should adopt one-book-for-all-subjects approach and a single entrance test for a single course throughout the country.

— RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh


Our exam system focuses mainly on retention capabilities of students, which, in turn, force them to words cramming. Such a system cannot lead to a sound foundation of learning. Thus, a mix of the conventional system and the present-day open-book system for some subjects should be chosen so that students don’t resort to rote learning.

To prevent the leakage of papers, educational institutes should be held responsible for the fair and successful conduct of exams. If still some discrepancies are found, a ban of up to five years or more should be slapped under the law.



Examination means the evaluation of one’s skill or knowledge. Thus, it should not be concentrated merely on the scores gained by answering questions correctly. On the contrary, it should be based on testing the practical knowledge of students.

Instead of focusing on the traditional examination system, we need to have a practical system that lays stress on research, fieldwork, assignments, seminar presentations, etc. Efforts should be made to expose students to the practical aspects of the text they are studying. Rather than evaluating a student’s cramming power, he should be analysed on the footing of what actually he has learnt. Students should not be burdened with books. The subjective examination should be complemented with an objective examination. Theory and practical should be given equal weightage.

— NANCY SIKIND, On e-mail


The examination system should first lay stress on practical knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge. Shunning the current practice of checking for rote learning, it should check the intelligence of students through innovative ways. Aptitude tests should be introduced to help students hone their analytical skills in particular subjects. Flying squads should frequently visit exam centres to curb the menace of copying. A proper seating arrangement with a congenial atmosphere should be provided to candidates during the examination.


Deal firmly with teaching shops

The frequent leakage of question papers relating to prestigious examinations like those for Civil Services, IIT and PMT have put a big question mark on the very fabric of secrecy and transparency of the examination system .The recent PMT paper leakage in Punjab is another example of corrupt individuals who gain access to the so-called full-proof system through money power, while the poor brilliant aspirants are kept at bay. Such immoral acts have encouraged a pernicious system of teaching shops or coaching centres. Some of these centres give assurance to aspirants of cent per cent success on the basis of malpractices, as evident from the recent PMT paper leakage case.

The government should deal with such centres as well as individuals responsible for such acts with an iron hand to uphold the reliability of the examination system. Also, there is a need to find out various techniques with the help of latest technology to ensure temper-proof examination system.

— RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt

Introduce grading system

What should an examination system judge? Understanding, analytical ability, presence of mind, writing skills, or just memory? The examination system has a lot of evils like the leakage of paper, improper evaluation and undue stress. The current practices inflict upon the children the tyranny of rote. Therefore, innovations like the open-book system should be experimented in higher/technical education to focus more on practical and need-based aspects. The grading system should be introduced at all levels, but certain rules should be framed to avoid bias. Exams should be conducted according to schedules, while results should be declared on time. The whole system should be made transparent to promote good teaching and learning practices.

— Dr M. K. SEHGAL, Mullana (Ambala)

Open-book system has merits

The recent paper leak reports suggest that our examination system lacks infallibility and confidentiality. Examination reforms should be carefully planned, piloted and introduced over a rational period. The system should be more professional. Modernisation should ensure high-tech quality training for examiners. An independent directorate of examinations, consisting eminent academicians, should be established at the university and board levels to monitor exams.

We should introduce the open-book examination system because the customary learning strategy of spotting, preparing and memorising answers has become obsolete in the present epoch. The fanaticism to secure high marks encourages unfair means. Thus, the open-book system lends itself to a wide range of higher order abilities. It can indirectly judge students’ mastery of the content by testing how well a student is able to apply knowledge to new information in a given situation.

— SURESH KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Conduct CETs under an efficient body

Today, the anguished cries of students and parents over the scrapping of various entrance exams remind us of the failure of our age-old examination system. The recent Pre-Medical Test paper leak case involving Punjab’s Baba Farid Medical Sciences University has forced us to think seriously whether the future of our children is secure or not. Therefore, to remove the apprehension, the state should constitute an efficient body, which will transparently conduct entrance tests relating to medical, engineering and agriculture streams. Strict action should be taken against the culprit involved in any sort of paper leakage. Only then can the future of our coming generation be secure.

— ROHIT SADANA, Kotkapura


In view of recent incidents of question paper leaks in various states, some drastic reforms need to be undertaken. To check such malpractices, the question paper of a particular exam for one university should be set, printed and sealed by a university of another state. Registrars and VCs of various universities across the country could form a joint body for this purpose. This step can help reduce the chances of a paper leak.


Strong  willpower necessary

A fair and full-proof examination is the soul of an education system. The whole society, teachers, students and parents in particular, are responsible for today’s corrupt, condemned and deteriorated examination system that immediately needs a radical overhaul.

First, weekly/fortnightly tests at the primary level and monthly tests at the higher level should be introduced. The annual result should include 70 per cent marks of these tests and 30 per cent marks of the annual exam. Only those teachers who are known for their integrity, credibility and impartiality should be entrusted with the supervisory duties in examinations. Readymade notes and guides should be banned from the classroom. Moral education should be imparted to both students and teachers. Neither force nor external control can reform the system; it is only the strong willpower and conscience of teachers that can cleanse the system.



The educational administration should understand that the smooth conduct of examination is the backbone of our education system, which needs a conducive environment for all the actors such as paper setter, invigilator, examiner and student. So, no frequent changes should be made in the exam datesheet. Every effort should be made to provide students with a bilingual question paper. Invigilators should be deputed from outside the institution. Suitable remuneration for invigilation, paper setting, evaluation, etc. should be paid in time. Our examinations need to strengthen the educational value of education rather than devaluing the value of education.

— M. M. GOEL, Kurukshetra


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