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Q: Should the class X board examinations be made optional?
This is the fourth instalment of readersí response

Only competitive students make competent workers

The idea of making the class X board examinations optional is without any logic and rationale. I believe it will lead to a downfall in the value of education to the extent that it will lose its meaning. Every possible effort needs to be made to make students competitive enough to survive in this unhealthy, competitive environment.

There is strong case for improving the value of education. Quality manpower for the industry can only be raised if we bring up our children in a competitive environment and train them to be competent workers.

To brace himself or herself for the challenges, the student is required to appear in examinations time and again and accept the reliability of these tests. There is no scope for this half-baked proposal of the government: to do away with the examinations at the matriculation level.

MAYANK GOEL,
Kurukshetra

II

From where we stand today in our education system, abolishing the board examinations for class X will prove to be disastrous, because we do not take education seriously anyhow. Teachers need to be highly qualified and upright to come up to the desired level and take over evaluation from the board.

We need to erase the impression that those who cannot do anything else become teachers. I fear that if the board examinations were eliminated, they who write "JOON" instead of "JUNE" would earn the right to be called matriculate, educated youth. Incompetence would increase.

Instead of making board examinations optional, the need of the hour is to find ways to raise the standard of education at the elementary level, so that a stream of goodness flows downward to the young people. Board examination or no board examinations will become irrelevant. Swami Vivekananda said: "Let new India arise out of peasantís cottage, grasping the plough, out of huts, cobbler and sweeper."

S. K. AGGARWAL,
Zirakpu
r

Exams egg on the brilliant

Class X exams should not be made optional because it will deprive the students of the spirit of competition and make teachers a lethargic lot. It is the basic platform where a student can judge his or her capabilities and shortcomings. It is the pressure of the board examinations alone that turns on students and teachers. A brilliant student gets a lot of satisfaction when he or she finds his or her name in the toppersí list.

If we have to end anything, we should rather scrap the so-called entrance examinations to save the money, time and energy of the students. Marks obtained in the qualifying examinations should be main criteria for admission into higher courses. More aspects of the studentsí personality should be considered before assigning them different grades. The introduction of the grading system is a welcome step.

SUKHDEV MINHAS,
Mohali

II

Examinations impel teachers to take extra pains in classroom to show good results to boards. Students also put in their heart and soul in studies to secure a meritorious rank. In the absence of the board examination at the end of class X, students will loose enthusiasm, motivation and the competitive spirit.

It will also dampen the teaching spirit, as most of the teachers work hard in classroom only to avoid harassment owing to poor results. Committed teachers performing their duties with dedication and missionary spirit are hard to find. Mercenary and materialistic motives have already subverted the profession.

The decision to make board examinations optional will turn out to be a boon for the lethargic and insincere teachers. It is all because of these board examinations that students get well-versed with the fundamentals they need to learn for the examinations at the end of classes XI and XII on course to various competitive examinations.

By making the class X board examinations optional, the cognitive domain of students in different states will differ substantially, causing numerical imbalance in the selection of candidates in competitive examinations conducted at the all-India level. Students from states with non-board class X are likely to lag behind their counterparts in the states where students appear in board examinations at the end of class X.

BALWINDER SINGH SANGHA,
Jalandhar


Parents build up stress

In this highly competitive world, one cannot escape examinations. By making class X examinations optional, we would be turning students into escapists. Rather, the students should be prepared to face bigger challenges in life. Class X is the right time for the students to learn the art of planning and time management. They should learn to cope with stress and not succumb to it. Whishing away examinations is not a solution; rather, the effort should be to teach them to tackle examinations intelligently.

Class X examinations play a vital role in preparing students for higher education and the marks secured at this level help a student chalk out his future academic career. Not taking the examinations at this level may give students some psychological relief, but it is going to be short-lived, as the class XII examinations are not that far now.

Since the class X examinations lay the foundation for the future, these should not be made optional, but steps should be taken to make these less stressful. A lot of examination-related stress originates from parents and teachers, and it is they who should be counselled first.

Instead of placing the entire focus on the written examinations, a respectable weightage should be given to the internal assessment based on the results of the house examinations. To maintain the sanctity of the assessment, the board should act as a watchdog.

RAMA KASHYAP,
Chandigarh


Keep the test, but update it

Matriculation examinations should remain compulsory, although with some updates.

The yearly examinations test the abilities of a student and if there were no tests, he or she would take studies less seriously, as there would be no fear of failure in his or her mind. Whatever is learnt in this one year has to be tested before the student moves on in his academic career.

Keeping in view the present-day advancement in science, especially sports technology, it has become essential to take steps that inculcate in the innocent mind the need for fitness, which is the need of the age. Only a rigid internal assessment system can ensure that students participate in the co-curricular and sports activities.

It is difficult for the boards to look after physical development of every student to ensure that his or her overall natural development is harmonious and progressive.

Thus the internal assessment system should complement the annual examinations.

DAYA NAND,
Charkhi Dadri

II

A meeting of the CABE was held in New Delhi a few days back regarding the NCF proposal on making the class X board examinations optional and some states had opposed this proposal.

Examinations at the end of class X are justified. Class X is a terminal stage for education and the students, after these examinations, do get jobs on the basis of the matriculation certificate.

This is a gate to higher education and professional courses that we should cross and not circumnavigate. This is the minimum qualification we should all possess. It is a foundation of studentís character and mental development and the examinations show if the foundations were well laid.

This is a tried and tested system adopted by the people of the country and based on the needs and circumstances of the nation. If we abolish the class X examinations and adopt another system to replace this, the Centre and the states would not be able to raid the huge amount needed to usher in new system.

Examinations should, therefore, be made more rational and not ignored. The system use needs reforms.

PREM SAGAR SHARMA,
Sangrur

Exam has stood the test of time

This proposition is worth consideration because it has wide-ranging implications. The class X examinations cannot and should not be made optional, keeping in view the minimum academic standard required for entering rigorous courses ahead. The boards should cover the different states and maintain a uniform standard of evaluation. The element of subjectivity and variation should be relatively minimised, if not completely obliterated. Objectivity and fairness of these examinations have stood the test of time.

A matriculate student, in general, is about fifteen or so and his date of birth is authentically recorded in the certificate for future reference for any eligibility. It remains the basic qualification for entering some professions at least. A co-ordination between various agencies can lend it more credibility. Moreover, a guiding and counselling agency after these examinations can direct the students to the right channels of excellence. This would eliminate frustration in the youth and their energy would not be wasted.

Lastly, it is sort of an entrance test for various vocational courses and before one gets self-employed. Itís conduct should, therefore, remain with an autonomous institution.

SHANTI SWAROOP SHARMA,
Dharamsala (HP)

Donít allow students to be exploited

Examinations are the important part of the education system, a target to be kept in view by both students and teachers. These should not be made optional because students will not take their studies seriously in the absence of these.

Teachers, too, will take it easy, as there will not be anyone impartial to evaluate their work.

Students will be simply at the mercy of their teachers for their gradation and other internal evaluation. There is likelihood of favouritism and exploitation of the students.

Hence, the board examination should rather be compulsory.

S. DARSHAN SINGH,
Anandpur Sahib

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