De-traumatisation of Education?

Update: This article has been published on YouthKiAwaaz


The News

Union HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal, has announced his first steps towards revamping the entire education system across the country – de-traumatisation of education by making 10th Standard Board exams optional. The logic behind this proposal is - “Why put unnecessary pressure on students, parents and schools by forcing students to appear for a Board exam if the student wishes to continue in the same school till 12th Standard?”

According to the Sibal, the student would have to appear for Board exams only if they wish to enrol in a different school post their 10th Standard. The proposal includes other measures such as the marks system making way for the Grade system or percentile system and setting up a National Commission for Higher Education and Research.

Since the CBSE board is directly under the Centre's purview, the new measures could be implemented within a year in CBSE schools, whereas it would take some more time to implement this strategy across the country. Sibal has also stated that the stakeholders would be invited for discussion before final implementation – the current State Boards forming a major chunk of the stakeholders.

My Opinion

It is obvious that the Indian education system has been long overdue for a revamp. And it is definitely good to see that the HRD minister has decided not to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor – and instead try do something meaningful. The intent is right – un-burden the young students and their hapless parents from the tremendous strain that they go through during the dreaded 10th Standard Board Exams.

Having said that, I am not sure whether the implementation is a step in the right direction.

  • This step has the potential to make the students complacent and it might impact their competitiveness.

  • The students would have to face the Board exams for the first time in 12th Standard. That means even more pressure during the all-important, decisive examination.

  • What impact will this have on the value of the 10th Standard certificate? The 10th Standard marks/grade is quoted everywhere – scholarships, college admission process, even job interviews dammit.

  • IMO, the project is very ambitious – making away with all the State Boards and centralizing the school education system (with crores of students) across the country is sure to run into serious scalability, administrative and logistical issues. Further, the State Boards are already well-established and specialized to cater to the needs and composition of the particular state.

  • One measure which makes sense is to make percentile as the standard unit of measurement as opposed to marks or percentage. This is all the more important as the standards of various State Boards in the country vary vastly. For example,

    • In Goa Board, getting 90% in SLC is a big accomplishment. Correction is very strict. Top scores in language subject rarely crosses 85.

    • In Karnataka Board, a student with 90% may not even be given a second look by any of the good colleges. There are tens of thousands of students with that kind of score. Correction is very lenient.

    • So, when students from these two boards apply for a seat in the same college, is it not a comparison of apples and oranges? The percentile system will surely level the playing ground.

I think Kapil Sibal deserves credit for taking the first step in this education reform. However, the proposal is in need of a re-look. I will consider the Indian education system to have undergone reform the day rote learning is banished and a system which emphasizes on “learning” and “education” in the true sense of the words is in place.

Looking forward to an India where children do not waste their childhood learning lessons by-heart and instead receive meaningful education which prepares them to give back to the country in the future. Jai Hind.

9 comments to De-traumatisation of Education?

  • I think it is a step in the right direction.I would like to compliment Sibbal for coming up with this bright idea.

  • oh wooow..this is nice! i would love to see education system reformed in india..

    n i cldnt agree more with ur post..also if we suggest that kids continuing in teh same school dont need to take xams while other kids have sure most kids will want to continue in the same school. Rite?

  • @BK Chowla: True. With this kind of thought-process; and with the likes of Nandan Nilekani taking over Govt programmes, I think we are down the right path!
    I only hope that the ideas are revised and more finer details (like the ones put forth by me) are taken into consideration.

    @Pavi: Well, thats one possible scenario (most kids wanting to continue in the same school).
    I fear the opposite might happen too. Given the extreme competitive nature of kids today (especially the urban ones), it is entirely probable that most kids would still want to go ahead and appear for the Board Exams. This would further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots!

  • Anonymous

    The idea is that tenth class board exam be made optional, not totally scrapped. I thiink it might be a good idea. I knew of this girl who took Sanskrit is class X (CBSE) I was impressed and asked h if she loved the language, but she said, she found the subject boring but it was a scoring subject! She did not even consider Sanskrit a language!

    There are other students who count every point they have scored more than their friends, the fact is it is not possible to judge a student exactly in three hours or even in ten hours, all we can get is a general idea, like a child perhaps grasped 79 to 84% of whatever she studied in class X, so grading system is fair unlike marking system.

    I am glad to see Kapil Sibal coming up with these suggestions, I hope we see some of these positive changes implemented!

  • Rather than focussing the full attention on exams and marks, grades and percentages- They have to look into what and how they are teaching and how exams are held. what subjects are taught and why sports is not given any importance in the entire syllabus.

    There has to be a uniform education system throughout India, teaching the same stuff and grading it in the same way!

    And when you have a uniform code of education, u need to have different levels. such as easy, medium and difficult in every subject- so that students of each level can approach the subject at his/her level!( or atleast have 2 levels- easy and difficult)

    except academic subjects- art,sports or any other skill/interest/option should be made available.

    we need to broaden our horizens, let our children choose from a variety rather than struggling with math,science,history and languages.

    There is so much to learn, our schools wherein our kids spend most of their time should actually provide them with most knowledge and exposure, but that rarely happens!

  • But yes, I am extremely happy to know Mr. Sibbal has taken the 1st step, whatever that might be. there's so much to do in the education feild.

  • I'm so glad we finally have a minister who has done something RIGHT for our country. Reviving our education system was a long pending need and I would like to congratulate Mr. Kapil Sibal in having taken the first step towards the right direction.

    But as you said, "I will consider the Indian education system to have undergone reform the day rote learning is banished and a system which emphasizes on “learning” and “education” in the true sense of the words is in place." Amen!

  • I agree with @indianhomemaker. The idea is - it is being made optional - not scrapped.

    This in effect means that your second and third points do not hold.

    If someone needs the Xth Certificate elsewhere, he can well give the examination. He need not opt out.

    If he feels he needs match practice before the all important 12th Boards - let him give the Xth examination. He needn't opt out.

    [Looking from the student's perspective, he would rarely opt out though. It is a well known fact that Board results are much better than the internal results. Students usually get 5 to 6 percent more in the Boards than the internal exams]

  • @indianhomemaker:
    I agree with your point that it is not possible to judge a child based on those 3 hours of examinations. Either the grading system or a percentile system, which takes into account the entire year's academic performance, would be far better yardstick.

    Having said that, there are other points which I have raised in the post - which need to be addressed

    You have pointed out several measures which are desperately needed, but which mysteriously escape the attention of minister after minister. You put it in the best manner possible: "We need to broaden our horizons"!

    @Di: Thanks! But hey, hold your horses. He has just proposed these steps. Implementing them is going to be the real test!

    Well, actually the second and third points are from the perspective of students who do drop out. Because of these reasons, as you rightly pointed out - no-one would want to drop out - atleast in the competitive environment of the cities. This would only widen the urban-rural gap in education

    BTW, your very last point is very subjective. It depends on the state/board etc. Where I studied my Xth std (Goa Board), the Boards correction was very stringent - so people used to get 3-4% less in Boards than in internal exams!

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