Boot boards to re-boot system?

Boot boards to re-boot system?

Boot boards to re-boot system?

Taking the first step towards reforming the system of education, the Central Government has decided to do away with the stumped Even a year spent in preparation does not help some face the stress of board exams. . Human Resource Development(HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal’s announcement to bring in academic reforms by scrapping board examinations, coupled with the introduction of grades has received laurels from students and parents.

The reforms envisages changes like the introduction of semester and credit system, credit transfers, replacement of marks with grades and single education authority across the country to oversee the process of examination. The reforms aims at bringing in tough laws to punish persons involved in educational malpractices. The Union Minister has also proposed to set up an independent autonomous accreditation body for school education to assess the quality of education imparted and its effect on students.

A welcome move
Sixteen-year old, Neha Agarwal, who is a class 10 student in one of the top CBSE schools is happy that the Union Minister had taken into consideration the plight of students. Neha says: “Students in class 10 are stressed out right from day one of the academic year to perform well in the board exams. Parents force students to get the top scores without thinking about the kind of pressure that they go through. It is a do-or-die situation to get the highest marks in the board exams.”

She adds: “I’m very glad that Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has announced the scrapping of board examinations. It will absolutely help students to focus well on the class 12 examinations.”

Rita Sharma, who has been a teacher for 11 years in one of the city’s CBSE schools welcomes the announcement of Union Minister too calling it a boon to the students.
She feels: “Students begin with the preparation for  board examinations in class 9 itself which stresses them out by the time they appear for the class 12 boards. The experience that students go through to reach the expectations of parents and schools is harrowing. The very fact that the Central Board has begun counselling sessions before the board exams indicates the kind of unseen stress that students go through to pass the exams.”
Sharma also says: “The options announced by Union Minister is helpful to students. The introduction of grades is another leap in education to bring in reforms.”

Students unburdened
It may be recalled that Karnataka was one of the first states to introduce trimester system in school education and at the same time reduce three hour examinations to 90 minutes, thus reducing the burden on students. Emphasis of education should be based on understanding of the subjects and the ability of analysis, says BK Chandrashekar, former education minister who had introduced the trimester system in the state.
“Problem solving ability and understanding of the subjects is more important than martialling facts by rote learning. Annual examination is one type of evaluation and learning is a continuous process. Evaluation of learning and teaching has to be done on the basis of  internal assessments and projects,” Chandrashekar opines.

“The 1986 National Policy on Education clearly states the urgent need to reform the education system in the country. Curriculum needs to be designed around students keeping in mind the requirements like theory, practicals, sports, natural sciences, picnic and other activities. Innovative methods have to be introduced in examination like multiple choice, objective type questions, coupled with essay type questions. Examinations have proven to be disadvantageous in the rural areas, where the pass percentage is low,” Chandrashekar pointed out.

Unrealistic reforms
In an attempt to overhaul the education system by bringing in radical changes, the announcement has also drawn flak with various state governments.
Although Karnataka has pioneered in bringing in significant changes to the education system, it was also one of the firsts to oppose the idea of scrapping of board exams. Was the immediate opposition by the state to the reforms a genuine display of trust in the present system of examinations or just internal differences in the political parties at the central and state government, is anybody’s guess.

But there are also many who believe that the reform is not realistic. “The minister’s agenda, no doubt, is high on intentions but in a country as vast and as diverse as ours, uniformity in education throughout the country cannot be implemented with any degree of success,” says V Padmanabhan, a parent.

He also adds that what is needed is a thorough overhaul of the whole system and not piece-meal tinkering with the view to corner immediate brownie points without any substantial improvements in the long run.