Why We Need Examination Reforms?

Himanshu Shekhar

   The examination system of India has remained unchanged from so many years. No doubt, this system is full of stress. That’s why most of Newspapers and Magazines publish articles on this topic during examination session.  In the education system of India, ability of a student is decided by an exam. In this system there is no place for performance of a student in full academic session. Scoring more and more marks in exams has become the only aim of a student.

   Impact of this stressful examination system is immense. Those who are in favour of this system should think about those bad impacts. First of all, if this system is good then all those who secure good marks in these must be brilliant and successful in life but reality is different. Now a days most of institutions don’t give admission on marks basis. They have a separate test and this trend is growing rapidly because they have no faith in this examination system. Unfortunately, these institutions too rely on exams for assessment of a student. This faulty examination system is forcing so many students to commit suicide every year. These incidents are growing rapidly.  According to an estimates more than 20,000 students has committed suicide in the last year.

   The mindset of the society is also responsible for making exams a source of stress. If some one scores good marks in examination then society starts treating him like a hero. On the other hand if someone scores less marks then society treats him just like an untouchable.  At this point one question arises. What is the importance of getting more and more marks in an examination? Just getting admission in  a reputed educational institution or making first impression to any employer firm? If any one gets a job then he must have to perform well on practical front. Marks of any examination won’t work there. Only knowledge will work there.

   We should think about the essence of education. In calling a person educated we make a positive value judgment. There is an expectation that education will improve the person. We expect that an educated person will behave in a better manner than one who is not educated. There is a sense of being let down, disappointment and dismay if an educated person does not conduct himself in a manner that is rational, morally good and socially responsible.

   It is clear that  education is meant for all-round development of a person. Education is not meant to produce only specilists and professionals.  Educationists too stress that education is a holistic process and not only a training of the intellect. It is development of moral, social, aesthetic as well as rational capacity. People might differ on the degree of importance that they place on these various dimensions but most would include all these in their notion of an educated person and these qualities can’t be developed by any examination. If these qualities can’t be developed and assessed by any examination then we should think about some different way.

   As we all know an educated person is not just well-informed (stuffed with facts and figures) or one who has learnt the knack or know-how of doing something. An educated person is not just one who knows what, and how, but also why and this attitude can’t be developed by any examination. While one expects that an educated person has knowledge, one also expects that the person has an understanding of the underlying principles of the physical and social – including political and economic – world. An educated person is someone who has evolved his own mental map according to which he steers his life and interprets all new facts and experiences.

   Nor does one expect that an educated person’s knowledge or understanding is inert but that it informs his perceptions, worldview and how he conducts his life. If a person realizes or learns of the importance of truth, goodness, beauty, love, justice and simplicity but shows no commitment to them in the way he lives his life, we cannot help feeling that person is not truly educated. The minimum we expect from an educated person is that s/he thinks in a rational and critical manner and behaves ethically and responsibly.

   A person certainly cannot be said to be educated till he has developed his potentialities as per his individual aptitude and acquired a greater understanding of his core self. Not only does the etymological root of the word ‘education’ point in that direction but most philosophical and religious traditions urge one to ‘know thyself’. This would mean acquiring some understanding of what it means to be oneself, clarity regarding one’s values, priorities and aim or direction (as distinct from one’s socialization or cultural conditioning – though not necessarily in rejection of them). Only then can an educated person be truly called self-determined and be held responsible for his actions.

   Education is an attempt to guide and introduce the person to the process and importance of self-realization. While this could be, and often has been, misused in the past to socialize persons, the concept of education excludes processes such as indoctrination and conditioning. An educated person carries the idea of autonomous and authentic person and not one who has been conditioned or indoctrinated. Education is guidance and direction but in a fashion that does not estrange or alienate from oneself but puts one on to the path of meaningful learning and realizing one’s true self.

   We have uncritically internalized the idea that only constant competition and examinations provide the motivation and incentive to learn, to keep us on our mental toes, which is contrary to our experience that we learn best in congenial and supportive situations but million dollar question is how many get it. Under pressure one only tries to cope by relying on previously acquired skills or trying to not look too bad. It is shocking when people actually ask, ‘If it were not for exams how would the teacher know what the child has or has not learnt? And if it were not for marks, how would we know where our child stands?’

    It is absurd that one needs to point to their own experience: don’t you as parents assess your child without examinations and know where s/he stands, or assess your colleagues and know their strengths and weaknesses without the need for conducting any formal examinations? Any teacher who has taught a child for a while can tell you the real level of the student, down to the spelling errors that s/he is likely to make before even conducting the exam. If we were not so schooled into accepting the logic of competition and examinations we would see people strive for excellence and voluntarily undertake challenging work in a congenial atmosphere without any incentives.

   In present education system teachers, instead of assisting learning, spend most of their time assessing learning. Instead of enabling and equipping students to learn, schools have taken on the function of examining and screening out on the basis of those examinations. So, the need of the hour is to make possible changes in whole education system. Our education system needs examination reforms. Format of exams must be changed. Marks should be given for performance of overall academic year. It should be given on behaviour of student, on his performance in extra curricular activities, on performance in class test, on attendance. If educational institution starts giving marks on behaviour of student then up to a big extent, it will make a big role in improvement of overall personality of a student.

11 thoughts on “Why We Need Examination Reforms?

  1. Good article. Everyone keeps waiting for someone to come and reform the system. Children continue to suffer as the system continues evaluation process for reforms.

  2. the article is very good……
    but it could hav been to d point and more specific…it would hav been much more better….

  3. The article written is good and I also personally feel that it has now become urgent need to Reform the system as recent system is good for those only suitable students of the system but for those who never passed in any examination has ultimately become supremo of the states and all the toppers of examinations are their employee’s in one way or the other in their states.As the time changes simultaneously the situation changes and it is beyond doubt that the greatest evil from which the system of Indian University Education suffers is that examination is dominating over Teaching process.Moreover it has found that more than 600-700 examinations are conducted by the single university in 365 days of single year (which includes teaching and learning process, examinations, evaluations, results and so many holidays) and this creates doubt that University curriculum is meant for examinations only or Teaching is also a part of it or vice-versa.However, creating question is not my aim but to find answer to the question are of my great interest and hence answer to recent problem of system is to reform the system with positive approach to enrich, embolden and empower the Teaching & learning process in view of reaching universal standard of excellent education and building each students a wholesome personality students of the future.- Dr.Chetankumar B. Masram.

  4. it is true that examination process in India has not been made a tool for assessment to all round development of a child.Its only focused on class room transaction. That’s why teachers are bothered only about annual written examinations marks.In Uttarakhand we are promoting this system by giving GREEN CARDS to teachers without assessing all round performance of students and teachers.

  5. A person is born with some talent. Society needs some skills to govern, develop and entertain the mass. Accordingly institutions select the best person or talent from the mass to deliver some goods and services to the society. The selection is informal and natural in small setting; but is formal in larger context though some tests and exams and votes. whether such exams are reliable and valid can be questioned. Not exam as such.

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