Earlier in Forum







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

This is the sixth instalment of readers’ response

Make paper setters accountable

Before even considering superficially what needs to be done to reform the education system, we have to expose the root of the problems eating into our country's education system. So many education commissions at the state and national level have time and again dwelt at length on this problem, while our education system continues to go from bad to worse.

Our political, bureaucratic and educational leaders have to show exemplary character. No more corruption in the system, no more leaking of question papers of competitive exams should be tolerated. No question is to be outside the syllabus.

There has to be accountability of paper setters, transparency in question-paper setting for competitive exams and checking of the making of keys to these questions. This would save the examining bodies from embarrassment.

Appointing only the sincere teachers in schools would make classroom teaching more relevant and interesting.

It would reduce the burden books on students and promote understanding and application instead of rote learning. At present, hardly any schoolteachers can rightfully claim mastery over the extremely lengthy and irrelevant syllabi.

VINOD KHERA, On e-mail

Difficulty level should be uniform

The main objective of the examination system should be to see that the question paper is child-oriented. There has to be uniformity in the pattern of questions set in examinations by different boards.

Brilliant students should not get simple questions in examinations and weak students should not get very tough questions. All boards should update the curriculum simultaneously. Students should avoid cramming and parents and teachers should encourage them to fit into the system of competitive examinations, as there is no escape from it. We need a central examining authority to control the conduct of all tests because only such a body can ensure uniformity.


Think beyond theory

The examination system is as important in education as the blood circulation in our body. The examination system lends credence to the education system. The Indian education system is based in theory, which remains only on paper and has no importance in practical life and situations.

Even in examinations, the stress is only on assessing what you have gained through rote learning. No doubt, improvement has been made to introduce more criteria for assessment, but that is totally based on bias, prejudice and subjectivity.

The examination system should be correlated with objective-based evaluated techniques. Seminars, group discussions, workshops, case studies, etc. should become inseparable parts of the examination system.

However, it should be considered that such techniques should be applied not only in professional institutions but also in academics institutions. The examination system should be framed in such a manner that would help us in our overall development (mental, social, cultural, psychological, physical, and moral) right from our childhood.

The examination may be a necessary evil, but self-evaluation can filter out this evil.


Put ban on private coaching

Education is a process of continuous learning; therefore, imparting education requires a high level of concentration, depth of understanding of the subject and the knowledge of the correct methods of evaluating your students.

The examination system in our country checks how much a student has crammed, not how much he has learned. Right from the school, each student should be prepared for self-study and surprise tests.

Tuition and private coaching should be totally banned, so that students develop the habit of attending classes more regularly. At least 30 per cent weightage in examinations should be given to classroom seminars, fieldwork and project work by students.


Whole system needs revamp

Our examination system is highly unreliable. It lacks validity in the modern world because it is based on rote learning. As a result, the system is just churning out unemployed youths. The Radhakrishnan Commission has rightly stated that "if examinations are necessary, a thorough reform of these is still more necessary". Hence, the whole examination system needs a complete revamp. Firstly, in order to curb the evil of copying, three to five sets of a question paper should be prepared. Secondly, the question paper should consist of almost all type of questions like objective type, multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blanks, etc., and not only the subjective type that encourages rote learning and impedes a student's mental growth.

Thirdly, the very word examination should be renamed as evaluation, a wider concept that aims at the overall personality development of a student. It is a continuous process, as it acknowledges a child's development in the school. It is comprehensive and qualitative because it not only tests the academic knowledge gained by a student, but also other important aspects of co-curricular activities. Fourthly, internal assessment based on tests should be given due weightage in the final score so that the real aim of checking thorough knowledge of a student is fulfilled.

Dr Zakir Hussain once remarked that "our examinations are neither valid nor complete". So, it is high time to ponder over this burning issue and to defy Dr Hussain's statement for the ultimate good of the posterity by lending ears to all the vital suggestions.

JYOTI BATURA, Chandigarh

Introduce grading system

The present examination system needs a complete overhauling. Here are a few suggestions:

The traditional system of testing a student's knowledge at the end of year in merely three hours should be done away with. Instead, a student should be tested throughout the year at frequent intervals. The marks scored in class tests should be put together to constitute the final result. The division system should also be abolished. Instead, students should be awarded A, B, C and D grades. This will help remove inferiority complex from the minds of those students who get second or third divisions. The invigilation during exams should be totally external, i.e., invigilators should be appointed from outside the campus to check copying and use of unfair means.

Different sets of a particular paper should be prepared by a team of at least 10 teachers to check the evil of paper leakage. More stress should be laid on practical aspects of a subject so that those coming out of educational institutions as graduates/post-graduates should not be mere theoreticians but practical persons.


Appoint awardees for supervision

Examinations are one of the essential tools not only to test the academic potential of students, but also to assess the complete system of education, its structure organisation, policies, curricular and co-curricular activities etc. The deterioration of examination system should be checked by educational administrators who are supposed to be men of high standard of integrity, sensibility and professional ethics. They should involve themselves more enthusiastically, practically and constructively by getting first-hand experience in controlling and conducting of examinations. The teachers of proven integrity, credibility and impartiality should be appointed as supervisors. National and state awardees are most suitable for supervisory duties. Flying squads should comprise eminent teachers from university and colleges. Parents and mediapersons should act as watchdogs.

M. M. BHATIA, Amritsar 

Abolish entrance tests

How to evaluate the knowledge of a student is always a burning topic among educationists. The current system of examination is neither practical nor rational. It monitors only knowledge aspect, which is not justified. The trimester system should be introduced in which a student gets 12 hours to express himself. Ten per cent marks should be marked for extracurricular activities, while 5 per cent marks should be reserved for attendance and general behaviour of a student. These 15 per cent marks should be added to the written examination marks to decide the final result. Entrance tests should be done away with because they consume priceless time and money. Instead, admission should be given on merit basis. It is necessary that aptitude tests should be started from class IX and students be guided according to their aptitude to choose the stream for higher studies.


Act tough with erring officials

The following steps should be taken to reform the examination system: Minimum percentage for admission to professional courses like medical and engineering should be 80 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively. Secondly, exemplary punishment should be given to those officials who are found involved in corruption.

Thirdly, over the years due to political and bureaucratic interference, many incompetent persons have managed to enter the noble profession of teaching. So, candidates should be selected through a transparent process to provide quality education at primary and university levels

BAIJ NATH, Bhiwani


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