A radical move

A radical move


Short-sighted and personalised policies and adherence to decades-old ideas have for so long weighed down the education system that it has become unable to promote knowledge, creativity and excellence. The thrust of the new plan is to put the student at the centre of the system and build institutions, practices and supervisory bodies around her. That is why the proposals, which include scrapping of the mandatory Class X examinations, setting up of an all-India examination board and replacing marks with grades would find favour not only with students but also with educationists and others who have given serious thought to revamping the system.

 It is important to lift the burden and stress of learning from the students’ minds to make the pursuit of knowledge a creative activity. For those who are schooled in the rigours of examinations and entrenched attitudes, abolishing exams would sound like depriving the students of aims and freeing them of responsibilities. But an open-ended and flexible system which gives free play to the natural instinct to learn can actually make the students more responsible and prepare them better for competition and the world. Some states have already replaced marks with grades and this has worked well. Since education is in the concurrent list, the proposal, along with others, needs to be  discussed with state education ministers.  A consensus, evolving from these discussions, can serve as a basis for fine-tuning the proposals. The proposal for creation of an all-encompassing higher education authority, in place of bodies like the UGC,  will be widely welcomed.

The reform agenda has a number of other ideas too which will be debated in the coming days. It also bristles with problems of implementation because changing  practices, habits, attitudes and institutions in a big country is a Herculean task. But it constitutes a positive departure and if implemented sincerely and efficiently, will change the face of the education system for the better.

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