Last week I saw this shocking picture in English daily, The Hindu. The news item described how parents, friends and relatives pass answer chits to students taking Board examinations in Bihar. Friends and relatives of examinees often hurl stones at authorities deputed to stop unfair means. Bihar minister admitted, “It is a big challenge to stop 100 per cent unfair means in the examination”. The current state of our education is really pathetic.
In other states, even though the picture is not so dismal, it is not encouraging either. In Maharashtra, almost all the schools start teaching 10th grade syllabus halfway through the 9th grade and don’t think it is necessary to complete the 9th grade curriculum. Students spend a year and a half memorizing books, attending private tuitions and solving numerous practice papers for the 10th standard board exam – an exam, where the quality, standard and methods of assessment have deteriorated over years. We have taken “teaching to the test” to a whole other level! If kids need to slog so much for the 10th standard board exams, how are they going to deal with higher education curriculum?
Long time back computers could perform very basic tasks. They could do basic mathematical operations and could store lot of data. We put our children through school from KG to 10th, kill their creativity and produce these old computers that can perform basic maths tasks and store lot of data! The 10th standard board exam has just turned into a quality assurance test to check if these machines are working well. The undue importance to board exams, quality of these exams and this whole system needs a big overhaul. The cheating in the exams is just a symptom and we need to address the root cause of the problem.