April 13, 2005


Students of India are having a tough time!

  • The Class 10th SSLC examinations of Kerala State have been rescheduled due to a question paper leak. The first incident of its kind in the history of this examination conducted by State Education Board of Kerala. The new dates announced are almost one month after the original dates for the exam. Students and parents are worried that the long gap in the dates will reduce their interest to study and are apprehensive about another leak.
  • Counseling centers have been opened in Andhra Pradesh, to help students who are under stress due to exams, i.e. clinics to shun examphobia!! There are also reports of students committing suicide over exam results. I have seen this type incidents happening in Kerala also.

Indian system of education which stresses too much on exams need a change. And it is the school education system that needs a big makeover. Current system, adopted from British system of education which creates degree holders, was more suitable when we had a job market which consisted mostly of government jobs and which valued the job seekers based on their degrees, irrespective of their skills to do the particular job.

Now with India becoming a job surplus market and most jobs being concentrated on sectors like IT and ITES, Biotech, BPO etc, its time we concentrate more on creating skills for these sectors. At the same time we need to reduce the stress on students by changing the examination system. I believe Kerala Government is doing something towards this, with implementation of new education approaches like DPEP and changing exam patterns with more questions to assess the child's creativity and analytical skills rather than the ability to "reproduce" the text. It may be true that there are some flaws in the initial stages, but this should be tolerated to create a refined and better system of education for future.

My education up to graduate level was done in the old system itself. I have always been in the first five positions of my class and have tried hard for this with my target always being the exams. But now, after getting employed in software industry, I find that I have been made to study loads of junk data to pass these exams. Also, I have always felt that it is important to get high marks in exams and considered this as the ultimate parameter to get a job. My government employed parents have always stressed this!

But this is not always true! At least in the present India where every graduate gets a job. One of the main struggles is to get the best ranks in professional entrance examinations so that you get admission in one of the best colleges (with the assumption that this colleges would fetch you the best jobs through campus placements). But now, every decent college in the state has a long queue of employers for campus placements, and students are "booked" one or two years prior to their completion of course! I have also seen people who have struggled a lot during their graduation, with so many "Supplis" getting better jobs than mine. So at the end of all this, it is not always the marks in your examination, but your luck that matters more! I do not mean to say that students need not study, but that they need not strain themselves much.

In this aspect, our graduation courses also need a change. We need to have more elective subjects based on new technology areas and more practicals in these courses rather than routine subjects which are boring for students as well as teacher community and just make another subject to score in exams. There is also a need to update the syllabus to include recent technology related content in these courses. I believe institutions like IITs and NITs have a course structure like this, but this need to be implemented countrywide.

It is high time that Indians become more realistic about their education system! We have to improvise this system to reduce the unnecessary stress that the students and parents go through when they hear the word "Exam"!!

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