>Education or Examination Where are we heading (1)

What is the first thing that comes across our mind when we hear or read the word examination? Let me share my view. A silence zone, 2 to 3 invigilators, a water boy, 15 to 30 examinees in a room ……….. writing, and writing, and writing and writing till their fingers start aching. Extreme stress, rising and falling blood pressures, increased pulse rate, trying to recollect whatever they have read in past two days and last six months, cooking stories around the slightest clue and trying to isolate ourselves from the few who keep asking for extra sheets. To summarise, a high voltage vomit in ink & paper of what we have crammed overnight.

Now try to go back into past and remember what was the pattern of examination in your middle school or high school years. It’s identical. I understand that end term examination is an important part of evaluation process, but what I fail to grasp is that why it is a majority part? Why most of our universities still consider this vomit of information as pious? Why we still consider written examination as end of the road? What we don’t realize is that we have actually or accidently inculcated the same in minds of our students, which is very alarming. We have unintentionally given this impression to our future educators that examination is the end of the road i.e. what we have learnt is to be remembered till the examination day. Once examination is over, our job is done. We have lost our focus from education and slightly altered it to clearing examination. Probably that is the reason for the mushrooming of coaching institutes near colleges and universities. A few days back a news report in a popular television channel reflected the state of higher education in an eastern state of India. Students enrol with university, enlist with a collage, but prepare only for examinations. How can the education system prosper with the idea “Study only that what is expected in exam”.

We have ignored the other methods of evaluation. When I say ignored, I imply the toothless weightage. Providing only a collective weightage of 20% to 30% to methods like ideation, presentation, research work, open book test, practical implementation, viva and project work is clearly creating a mockery out of these. Most of our examinations still carry 60 to 70 percent of evaluation process. And the way questions are framed in question papers has often been criticised. Questions starting with What, When, Why, How, Explain, Write a Note, Elaborate upon etc are not framed to test the intelligence of a student, but they focus mainly on what a person can remember from a text book.

Efforts taken by many premier institutes in India in adopting changes in evaluation process is commendable and should be taken up in other areas of higher education. We can’t always hide behind our self-framed limitations to avoid any positive change. We have brilliant minds ready to work, seeking our guidance, looking upon us to show them direction by providing good education, but what we are offering is a small phrase “study for exams”.

Just food for thought. Your feedback is welcome. Help me understand. Help me grow. Put me out of misery.

Devesh Lowe,
Assistant Professor – JIMS Rohini

Visit Website – www.jimsindia.org

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