Examination is an important and effective tool to evaluate the progress of students. It helps teachers to identify the loopholes in the teaching-learning process. Consequently, the teachers devise and implement remedial measures to overcome these snags and academic lacunas which surface through evaluation methods. Teaching-learning methodologies have gone through many changes, so have the examination patterns. The World has broken the jinx of orthodox patterns of examinations with the introduction of new methods of evaluation like group discussions, debates, oral tests, multiple choice questions etc. Though we are still following the traditional system of examination and our educational system is examination centered but our bizarre policies have made it more complicated.
State Institute of education (SIE) and the respective District Institutions of education and trainings (DIETs) have been conducting the examinations of elementary classes from 5th to 8th standard for last couple of years though they had been conducting the class 8th examinations for the last many years. The initiative was aimed at the betterment of our academic standards but it has proven counterproductive. The lengthy examination schedule of DIETs has taken toll of our big claims of quality education. Last year, the authorities were lambasted for prolonged examination schedules of these elementary classes. Because, the hectic examination schedules are a burden for students as well as teachers. No doubt, DIET authorities have a right to assess the academic standards of schools but it should not be at the cost of the precious time of our children. Lengthy and complicated question paper cannot elevate our poor academic standards. We should revisit this policy. The examination pattern for these elementary classes has proven a curse in disguise for our children.
Even parents of the children are not happy with this decision. We all know that only poor and economically weaker sections of our society send their children to government schools. Charging big chunks in the name of printing charges will discourage parents to send their wards to Government Schools. Traditionally, School authorities would hardly charge rupees 30 for a 5th standard student for printing charges. But, now, this amount has been risen to rupees 180. It is additional and un-necessary burden for parents who are living hand to mouth. Parents are frequently visiting Schools to enquire about this high amount of printing fee.
Examinations of elementary classes albeit 8th standard should be conducted in schools where the children are studying. We don't have any objection if these examinations will be held under the supervision of DIET authorities. It will certainly ensure transparent and organized system of evaluation in schools. A DIET official, wishing anonymity, told this author that the conduct of examinations by DIETs from 5th standard has drawn flake. None of the stakeholders is happy with it. So, we should leave it to concerned Schools to conduct these examinations from 5th to 7th standard.
The examination schedules of DIETs have badly hit our educational system. Albeit, U1, U2 , and U3 , the T 1 and T2 examinations take almost two Precious months of our children. Then, it is the result formation which takes almost a fortnight. Even teachers go for quantity in order to evade the departmental action. We all know the uncertainty prevailing in our valley. Strikes and protests by teachers and other non-academic assignments of teachers, hit our academic calendar very badly. Now, these extended examination schedules add to the miseries of our poor children. It leaves our academic year qualitatively and quantitatively degraded.
Now, the billion dollar question remains unanswered. “How can our children prosper academically when the most of their time is consumed in hectic examination schedules, and the rest falls prey to our political uncertainty "? In such circumstances, DIET authorities should immediately withdraw this order to conduct the examination of three elementary classes viz a viz 5th, 6th and 7th. When private schools can do it at their own, why can't government schools?
We never doubt the intentions of our higher-ups. But, probably, they must reconsider their decision. We witnessed it last year when we were not able to begin our new academic year from 1ist November. Voices from different stakeholders were rising to make a change in this system of examinations. Even, our higher-ups had admitted the lacunas of this lengthy system of examination which has proven detrimental in the malfunctioning of our educational system.
Now, DIET authorities are once again all set to conduct the T1 examination of these elementary classes i.e., 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th, and have already issued notices to concerned stakeholders for the completion of procedure. Students have been asked to deposit their printing fee. Let Diet authorities conduct the examination of class 8th and 9th, and the rest should be left for schools to conduct. It will certainly save the Precious time of our children which is otherwise lost to bizarre examinations. Private Schools conduct all these examinations at school level, and manage to elevate their academic standards to a greater extent by providing the sufficient Number of school days to their children. While as we waste it in the name of unnecessary things like prolonged examination.
Hope that the concerned authorities will take a serious note of it, and will invite feedback from teachers and parents also. It is futile to drag 5th, 6th and 7th grades into this kind of evaluation. Let this assignment be handed over to teachers. It can increase the number of teaching-learning hours which have fallen prey to multiple factors, prevalent in our valley. Hope the aforesaid facts will serve as an eye-opener for the concerned people.
(Author is a Teacher)