The PUC 2nd year exams are on. The efforts of the year have trickled down to take shape as a time table that summons the aspirations of the students to match their skills or rather test them against the ability of select academicians who have been bestowed with a two pronged task; one of making sure that most of them pass and the other to make sure that those who plan to score well, have a difficult time notching up numbers. The first of the tasks is rather easy to both execute and comprehend. Just gather up a few question papers from the past and spread around a decent dash of predictables. The second is to pick the odd ones and stuff them into the question paper so that the so called intellectual folk find it sufficiently taxing for their already overstressed minds.
The task is made further complicated by the evaluation system. While one set of evaluators have the ardous task of trying to get students over the line, there seems to be little sense in the fact that the papers of those who score rather well are reexamined repeatedly as if scoring high well is a crime in itself.
While the evaluation system continues to do the job that has been in place for ages, it is difficult to judge or even comment on whether the real ability of the students is actually tested. The Indian education system is a carry forward if not a perfect replica of the Colonial system that was designed to produce clerks. Memorize, reproduce and forget!!! Just do the same exercises and lessons umpteen number of times and the good old memory takes care of the rest.
There is a unique breed of students with distinct abilities who actually find the going real tough. The whole system of examinations actually sounds and feels quite threatening to them since, maybe exams are not exactly what they are cut out for when it comes to play their part.
These individuals are wonderful at actually doing tasks rather than at remembering formulae or equations or constants not to mention the seemingly endless theorems and corollaries. As an obvious eventuality, exam times are super stressful for these folks but no one seems to care.
To add to it, they might even have been forced to undertake a specific stream of learning which doesnt actually suit their fancy. One can only dread the fate of these lovers of arts or management who have been forced to take up academic programs in science just because their parents think so or even because their tenth standard marks merit the social label of ‘Suitable for science’. It could also be a case of their earlier performance bringing them the label of ‘Not suitable for science’.
As we go through the motions of the examination system that desperately seeks to evolve to a proper relevance, the results will continue to brand both the seemingly capable and the seemingly incapable and the ensying tensions will continue to take their toll on these that form the future of our country.
It is time to take a pause, to ponder and address relevant issues and we need to address them right at school.
Until then, the summer heat will continue to be beaten by the exam heat and millions will continue to toil in expectation of making the best out of what exists.
Examinations, indeed a symbol of Academic Intolerance.