Academic Bulimia: A Critique On The Examination System In India

Posted on April 22, 2011 in Education

By Jubin Mehta:

Gobble gobble gobble! Sploosh-woosh and take it out! That is what it all is! Examinations. On most of the nights before the exams, we start cramming up stuff and fill in till our heads are on the verge of an overflow and vomit it all out on the next day. With the end of the exam, the tank is almost empty again and it’s ready for the next dose of the temporary refill! The more you gobble, the more you score; the more you butter up people, the bigger reward reflected in the ‘mark sheet’ is! All these are also skills which prove extremely useful but they aren’t what academics should be checking on. In between all this nonsense, ‘learning’ has been losing its meaning. Knowledge is not something that can be enforced upon someone; it has to be taken in gracefully with open arms. It is something which can give life a meaning for many people.

There are a few exceptions but the situation stated above is widespread. Hardly five percent of the things learnt (if any learnt at all) are retained after a year or two. Barring a handful, the teaching quality of the staff is also declining. The fault is on both the sides of the line. The students too are equally at fault with their nonchalant attitudes. But there are a number of factors leading to this; pressure to take up a conventional safe line like medicine or engineering, losing interest, not having access to facilities and other external influence. The current education is a farcical rigmarole which was meant to provide results different from what they are doing today.

The other factor that curbs a student’s right to freedom is attendance. If marks are the only thing necessary, why bring attendance in the picture? If a student is being to score the marks needed without attending particular lectures where he or she feel that their time is being wasted, it should be up to the students to decide whether they want to attend the class. There is no point in forcing any pupil to sit somewhere for an hour where he/she gains nothing. Instead, that hour could turn out to be productive if he’s given the right to freedom. The case might be argued in case of students scoring below a certain bar (because it’s just marks that matter, remember?). Enforcing upon them might be bias but it might just help themto scrap through.

It’s not that the entire workforce is in a wrong direction or that every institute is instilling knowledge through a scrappy method. But the education system (in India at least) needs to undergo a revamp. People end up doing things in their lives which has got no relation with what their intended line was. Maybe, the basis of all education is same but the choice to do what a person wants from the beginning helps him get the satisfaction and also leads to a higher efficiency which in turn will improve overall productivity.

A student should not be confined to any specific domain. Giving him a right to select subjects in any field of his choice (there might be multiple fields) leads to a more meaningful learning. Materialistic things do matter but if a person enjoys what he’s doing, he’ll not mind the pay as much as he used to initially. Teachers will also enjoy teaching more as they’ll get an overwhelming response from their ‘shishya’. Like-minded people working together can work wonders. They can maintain their individuality in spite of being in a group. So all we need to do is break free of the mental chains and let the imaginations fly because there aren’t any limits (not even the sky!).