Thursday, March 19, 2015

Quality in education

The mathematics paper of CBSE class XII is in news for being tough and the children found it very difficult and lengthy. The issue has been raised in parliament by honourable members and all are really concerned about the plight of the innocent students. Some people have raised a very pertinent and relevant question that up to class X the children are stress free and all of a sudden in XII, why the question papers should be so complex? Before we pass any statement on this, the expert committee of the people involved in setting question papers should look into the problems raised by the students and teachers. Those who have not even seen the question papers and do not have any idea about the pattern and setting of question papers should not jump to any conclusion. As I mentioned in the past also that the quality of question papers is important and so is the teaching and learning in the schools. Those who are so much concerned about the students’ plight now should pay serious attention to that aspect also. The standard of the education should not be diluted in the name of making students stress free.
I express all sympathy towards the problems of the children and strongly advocate that education should not be a stressful exercise but a joyful journey towards the betterment of the children. Not only the teaching learning process but also examination should be enjoyed by the students. As suggested by the honourable Prime Minister Mr Narender Modi, that the examination period should be celebrated as a festival and not in the way of quandary. Though this is easy said than done,  still can be tried. For this it is not necessary that we set easy question paper but prepare our students well that they do not find any question paper difficult. This may seem to be ideal but achievable if the teachers and the school function as desired and expected. In the paper under discussion also there are many students who have done quite well and do not have any complain but nobody would like to speak it out publically because they might be considered selfish or against the interest of other students. As I said earlier the paper was difficult than the previous years but all should remember that the standard of the question papers of UP board, Rajasthan board and many other boards used to be much higher than what it is of this paper. Generally people say that ICSE board papers have higher standard than that of CBSE.  Though I am not in a position to state which is better but definitely want to convey to all that diluting the standard of the question paper and evaluation is no answer to the problems of the children. Many people will agree that even after getting the graduation degree many candidates applying for a job are not able to write proper application in English or Hindi. Though the point which I am raising may seem to be out of context but extremely important to be mentioned. In the name of reforms the standard of the languages specially English and Hindi has been diluted which is affecting the students negatively, though they seem to have been scoring more marks than what students used to get before. So, is it the scoring of more marks that is important or understanding and learning a concept. We all need to think about it seriously.
Another news, which had a lot of attention paid by the news channels and many people, was related to the mass cheating in the board examination of a state which used  to be a role model for rest of the world in the field of education. Many people saw those pictures and videos of the individuals climbing the walls and trying to help their wards. In some cases, even the police personnel were also seen involved in that. The minister of that state expressed his inability to stop this because as per his statement this could be stopped only by using force and he did not want his people to be killed by using bullets. He was heard blaming somebody else as it might be the fault of a person who ruled the state for the last few months and all this happened because of his negligence. Why did the honourable minister not take the responsibility to ensure that the children of the state get quality education. Why should he have not said that corrective measures will be taken and this type of chaos would not be allowed to be repeated in future? These children might pass with good marks by using unfair means but will that make them or help them to be responsible and productive citizens of the country? My intention is not to blame an individual or few people but an urge to all concerned to ensure that our children are not deprived of their right to quality education. Please do not make them the bearer of a paper carrying marks or grades only.
To ensure quality education, the government should think of constituting an autonomous body of the people from different fields and allow them to work independently under the guidelines framed by the government, keeping in mind the requirement and future of our country. The educational policy should not be attached to the ideology of a group of the people or the party in power but it should be only in the interest of the country.  The controversies related to the appointment of Chairmen of boards, Vice chancellors of universities and IITs etc., should be above party politics. For this clear and objective guidelines related to the qualifications should be known to all so that nobody can raise a doubt on the sanctity of such institutions. I might have seemed to drift away from the topic but all these issues are related to providing quality education to our children. We can move our face away by putting the responsibility on somebody else. Nevertheless, everyone must collectively plan and work in the interest of the children and future of the country. 
I am sure our students of class XII who took their mathematics examination paper on 18 March might have come out of the astonishment and would be fully prepared for the future papers. They should not really ponder upon it too much as life is full of uncertainties and we should not feel defeated in any situation. I am positive that the problem faced by the students has been noted by all and corrective step will be taken so that the children do not suffer for the fault of somebody else. The concerned board should also learn a lesson and ensure that such problems are not repeated in future.

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