India is a country obsessed with marks and degrees. A lot of parents are fine with their kids using unfair means as long as that results in ‘good’ marks. Their own kid scoring 99Â doesn’tÂ give them as much of satisfaction, as knowing that no other kid in your locality or family has matched that score. We fight like barbarians for every mark. Each student is adept at the art of slogging and mugging at the last minute. Gaining knowledge or learning something new is not our aim, but getting a high score is. This entire process has become a vicious cycle which has engulfed everyone involved with it namely students, parents and teachers.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been working over-time for the past few years to break this rut. They first came up with a break-down of the syllabi in a manner which would put less burden on the students appearing for their board exams. The Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) followed. This involved the scrapping of the mark-based evaluation system prevalent then and introducing grades in class X. It turned out to be a huge hit and earned unanimous praise from all. This system did away with the practice of declaring somebody as ‘fail’, which in turn contributed immensely in relieving the stress-levels of everybody involved directly or indirectly with a ‘School’. With only grades being announced, students are no longer under any pressure to be the top rankers. 70 per cent of the marks areÂ finalizedÂ even before they take the board examinations, reducing it to just another test.
CBSE is now mulling over a ‘No fail till grade 8’ policy. If this policy sees light, it would be another boost for the students. Not only would it free the students of the fear of ‘flunking’, but it would also encourage them to study for the sheer joy of it. No longer would they resort to unfair means just because they feel that they are ill-prepared for an exam. For long, philosophers have told us that ‘Success and Failure are two coins of the same side’. But students today are so petrified of “failing” that they would go to any means to ensure that they ‘Pass’. The same students on growing up believe that bribery, corruption , nepotism etc are not sins.
Our country today needs citizens who are physically fit, mentally aware and morally straight — and CBSE is taking steps which will ensure that we proceed on that path.