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Making Class X exam optional

In his article, “Why do away with exams?” (July 6), K N Pathak has rightly opined that “an examination is a mechanism in which one assesses the intellectual comprehension and social ability of the child”. Yet I agree with Mr Kapil Sibal’s idea of making the Class X exam optional. Instead, it should be replaced by one unified exam that could be the gateway to all careers.

In the present scenario, each state board has its own exam, and needless to say, it creates many problems. For there are individuals in the system who are inducted on the basis of things other than merit, thanks to corruption and “chalta hai” attitude. Often there are reports of impersonation and leakage of papers. Besides, our education system has not kept pace with the increasing population. The HRD Minister must increase the number of seats in proportion to our population. Otherwise millions of youngsters who have the talent but are not able to get admission in desired courses due to shortage of seats will remain frustrated.



The Tribune deserves appreciation for initiating a debate on the education policy. Education is a tool for developing human personality, character and skills. It makes man human and humane.

It is a fact that no system of education is perfect and depends on the operators of the system—educationists and administrators. As far as the elementary system of education in Punjab and Haryana is concerned, the less said the better. In the rural areas ramshackle buildings without proper drinking water or toilet facilities are called schools.

There are no two opinions that learning and exams are not mutually exclusive; rather these are complementary to each other. How can a teacher evaluate the performance, assess the ability, monitor the progress or promote students without an examination?



It seems that the reforms proposed by Mr Kapil Sibal are mostly aimed at removing the stress and strain experienced by students. I am of the view that the causes of pressure on students should be analysed. However, examinations at any level should not be abolished. There is no harm if the spirit of competition prevails among the students.

In fact, the system of entrance tests should be abolished. It has given rise to a regular industry of coaching and is not only a source of stress and strain for students but also a cause for financial strain for parents. Students should be admitted to an institution on the basis of the marks obtained in an examination conducted by any statutory board or university. Indeed, the mushrooming of deemed universities must stop. The idea of a single regulatory body to control and monitor higher education is welcome.


One rank, one pension

A skilfully crafted statement of the Union Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, on the long-standing demand of the defence forces for one rank, one pension has created a wholly erroneous impression that the demand has finally been granted by the government. In fact, the available information indicates that the issue has not been even remotely addressed.

By bringing pre-1996 pensioners on a par with the post-1996 pensioners, the Finance Minister has only removed a 13-year-old anomaly, which should have been done long ago. Revised pensions announced after the Sixth Pay Commission had created three distinct classes of pensioners. As a result, similar personnel in each class received widely differing pensions. Equity and natural justice demanded that these artificial distinctions should have been removed whenever pensions were revised. Importantly, the distinction between pre-and post-2006 pensioners remains un-addressed. It needs reminding that the demand of the defence forces and defence pensioners for one rank, one pension was, in fact, only for the removal of this distinction. Such indifference of the government for the defence forces and veterans is galling.

Maj-Gen SATBIR SINGH (retd), Vice-Chairman, Indian ESM Movement



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