May 1st is Labour Day but March is labour month — Parents labour to get their students to study and students labour to regurgitate a whole year’s syllabus. Now, exam papers have leaked… again and a re-examination has been announced. This has not only left students frustrated and parents fuming but also put the tourism industry in limbo.
In our country everything in the first quarter of the year is planned around children — marriages, medical procedures, holidays, finances are all planned around exam dates. Everything is on the backburner until children finish their exams. So families are now anxiously waiting for this rigmarole to end. But when it doesn’t, things go haywire.
The 2018 batch of CBSE Class 10 students are unlucky. To begin with, they were informed earlier this year that they will have to prepare for the entire syllabus unlike their predecessors. Now this batch not only had to do it all in one exam but also possibly face a re-exam. It must be truly frustrating to be the batch of 2018. But…
With so much confusion about exams and with the government going back to the old exam pattern from next year, this year the government may follow a “no student left behind policy.” Which means no one fails! So perhaps the batch of 2018 CBSE X aren’t all that unlucky!
What is aggravating to most parents and students is that the CBSE had received a tip off about the exam paper leak four days earlier. Then on Tuesday night they received a copy of the leaked paper but did nothing about it. This morning, Union Human Resource Development Ministry stated that since the question paper leaked only in Delhi and Haryana, only the students in these two zones would have a re-exam. But this decision will be taken in the next 15 days! Why are children and parents being kept on the edge of their seat for 15 days?
Our Prime Minister may have written a book called ‘Exam Warrior’ but if his government does not find a fool-proof solution, he will have to write a second book called ‘Re-exam Warrior.’ In fact in the book the PM writes “a parent wrote to me saying, ‘Modiji, one of my children appeared for the Class XII exam and the other for Class X. They were tremendously nervous but your Mann Ki Baat had an effect on them that even our words did not’.” May be the PM can address the children again and let them know they don’t have to be nervous, as it won’t happen again. The PM in the book said “Exam Warriors — brave youngsters taking part in the festival of exams.” Well, the festival of exam has turned into a nightmare.
Can you imagine what would have happened if all the farmers were affected similarly? The government thinks children can’t affect the outcome of elections so they can be harassed with irrelevant syllabus, books that are politically vetted and reschedule exams without a care.
Our education system has many rotten apples. When I was in college there was a teacher who gave full internal marks in exchange for a then popular whiskey called Peter Scot. Then tuition teachers started pooling money to buy exam papers and tutor their students. Good results meant demand for more money from the next batch. Soon some colleges allowed copying so the college ranking would improve.
May be, if we change our testing and grading system it could put a stop to the leak of question papers. In the United States, the passing grade is 60% and anything below this is an F grade, fail.
In India, it’s 35%. No wonder then that 47% graduates in India are not employable for any industry role according to a nationwide audit of employability done by Aspiring Minds, India’s Leading Employability Solutions Company.
May be like in the West we too should have open book exams and raise the pass percentage to 60%. Students should have read the book to know where to look, the testing criteria is based on understanding the concept and its application to solve a problem — it is a test for application of knowledge which is what one is expected to do in the real world.
For this to work, our teachers have to set the question papers intelligently. But most of our professors don’t want to find innovative ways of testing their students because innovation is hard work.
Film distributors prevent film piracy by handing out a password to movie theatres just thirty minutes before the first show of a film is about to play so that they can download the movie to be shown. Perhaps, the same method can be applied to CBSE schools where they can download the question paper a little before the exam? All a school needs is an internet connection and a photocopy machine.
We are a leaky nation. Everything, from our public distribution system, banking system, election dates, to our education system leaks. For now, the lesson in this leak is for parents: whenever you plan a post-exam holiday, book refundable tickets.