Students: The Newest Breed Of Guinea Pigs?

Posted on December 1, 2010 in Education

By Shrishti Chauhan:

The contemporary issue that has affected me a great deal is the reforms in the education system of India over the past few years. Being a student, I am an implicit part of the education system and this matter is a question of unease for me.

The recent introduction of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) has left me bewildered by what the government is trying to do. I am not condemning the entire grading system which has been introduced. Of course every system has its pros and cons. The grading system promotes practical and interactive way of imparting education and also does the much desired task of incorporating the evaluation for extra-curricular activities that a child takes part in.

I, however, am of the opinion that this system is premature and it reeks of experimental decision-making by the government. The Indian education system was said to be rote-learning and verbatim penning down of bookish language in exams. If this is the case then why did President Obama appreciate the Indian system in many of his speeches? What explains the immense talent that the country produces every year? What explains the fact that foreign universities- be it Yale, Princeton, Harvard or Oxford are teeming with students from India?

Mr. Kapil Sibal has done away with the Class 10th board exams to ease the pressure of education on children. This is like changing one finger when the entire hand is crippled. The universities and colleges follow different regulations during admission. The transition from a life of easy-going nature to a parallel life which demands greater effort in the form of good percentages in class 12th boards and entrance exams might not remain smooth any longer.

The most prominent glitch of this system that highlights its myopic nature is the void created between school education and college education. The course has been made so undemanding of the students that the gigantic void in between is filled by the mushrooming coaching centers. This makes life all the more stressful for the students.

The CCE gives greater emphasis on practical learning systems- not taking into account that a majority of the children study in government schools where the disinterest of the teachers combined with the rampant corruption (which leads to stealing of laboratory equipments and subsequent selling them) makes the idea unfeasible and impractical.

The final point which I must put forward is that grading system would be beneficial only if the system is revamped from head to toe and each level of education compliments the next. Every idea- be it CCE or grading system- should be thoroughly examined and tested before putting into practice. Treating students as the guinea pigs of the system while it finds the right path to progressive education is unacceptable.

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