Exams where students are at ease
In the pre-epidemic period, educational institutions were functioning, and the program of entrance examinations and examinations in the name of literacy was being conducted regularly.
Students, teachers and parents were maintaining their trust in the entire system while respecting it. People were also willing to spend extra on tuition and coaching to make up for the shortcomings of the formal system. All this was happening despite the fact that everyone knew that weaknesses in curriculum, discussion, assessment and teacher training were constantly hollowing out the organization of education from within. Examination is of utmost importance in this system. What is read and written throughout the year does not matter to anyone as much as the number of marks or grades obtained in the annual examination? So it became the goal of all to gamble on any kind of test, right or wrong.
This is also because exam scores are very useful. Their imprint works a lot and is a cross-dresser for different occasions. It would not be wrong to say that doubts have spread to the apex of higher education regarding the authenticity of the examination. Most of the students leaving the system have been questioned about their skills, abilities and qualifications. The growing number of unemployed youth speaks volumes.
To address these shortcomings, the government has been campaigning for changes in education policy for the last five-six years and now its blueprint has been made public. As information is being received, the work of embodying that blueprint is also in full swing even though no clear blueprint is available.
The Corona epidemic has thrown education into a state of emergency. For more than a year now, schools, colleges and universities have been forced to rely on distance education instead of providing physical education. Where there are facilities and resources, efforts are being made to teach students through the internet and the examination process is also being completed.
Students and teachers, no one practiced it. With the help of slow zooming and other such platforms, teaching gained momentum but the broader goal of education – to make the mind, body and soul healthy and independent – has gone a long way. The goals of equality and equality are also being forgotten as children want to be equipped with good mobiles and laptops, which are not easily available to the poor and lower middle class.
The dangers posed by their habits or adolescence are different. Yet in today’s world we have no choice but to get out of this darkness. Opening schools and colleges for fear of corona infection is not without danger. There is also speculation of a third wave of covid, which is expected to have a greater impact on children and adolescents.
Running the country’s vast education system, which has millions of teachers and millions of students, with health, safety and authenticity is indeed a major challenge. The general annual examination, which involves answering certain questions at a fixed time in one place, has so far been considered standard. Rejecting this provision is both a challenge and an opportunity in view of the safety, health and stress of students, parents and teachers.
The assessment of learning, as has been the case most of the time, has become a thing of the past. Assessment should not be something beyond learning. Anyway, the assessment should show what the student knows.
The marks, grades and grades obtained only indirectly indicate where the student stands in a comparative sense, not the skills. The marks obtained in the examination do not give any information about the skills of dealing with the realities of life and solving them. Anyway, ignoring the journey of a year or two of academic life, answering five to ten questions in a three-hour exam, making or breaking a career gives importance to luck instead of hard work. The education system should be conducive to the holistic development of students. Although the government formulates education policies with the guidance of eminent experts and educators, the shortcomings in education policy are often not rectified.
Now educators have to look for other measures of academic ability that are not only more credible but also reflect the students’ creative ability, decision making ability and use of knowledge.
The authenticity of intellectual ability is manifested in the practical achievement of living and adapting to one’s face, society and focus. He who is active is a scholar. With this in view, a meaningful model of remote examination will now have to be developed in the world of virtual literacy in which it will be necessary to place memorization, comprehension, analysis, creation and decision making in a comprehensive arena of learning.
Experiments in this direction are being carried out in various educational institutions at home and abroad. Giving students a fair chance to express their abilities will definitely help in getting rid of the ghost of exams which remains a major cause of loss of mental capacity and family stress. A meaningful alternative to exams will free education from many of its obstacles
(The author is a Retired Principal based at Malout Punjab)