The recent cancellation of examination by the central government followed by several state governments have flared up a debate on the importance and excessive importance of sem/year-end examination. Overemphasis on examination push students to extreme anxiety and pressure. But nevertheless, education as a process involves various aspects apart from textbooks, tests, examinations. The discussion focusing on restricted few aspects and ignoring larger aspects that affect a students’ educational life will only do lip service and not even touch the real issue in doing so.
In 2019, in India 10,335 students died by suicide, which amounts to one suicide every hour. This alarming rate of suicide cannot be attributed to fear of examination alone. And reasoning that the education today is centred only around year/sem examination to be the cause and therefore CCE(continuous and comprehensive evaluation) to be a solution to this, becomes a very superficial solution. And this indirectly further strengthens the NEP(2020)’s arguments which are out to destroy the very basis of education by making education a fragmented unscientific process.
True that education has become exam-oriented, for that multiple exam cannot be a solution. Fear of examination can be removed only by removing the fear associated with examination and failure. This is linked to the social atmosphere where education is considered only a means to fetch a job. Parents feel their children can get a good job if they score good numbers in exams, as they fear their child being unemployed. This fear of joblessness is encashed by the governments who are at the service of private players in bringing policies that make education job oriented, vocationalised. All the governments that have ruled this country with all their progressive faces have successfully been able to do this. The result is in front of us. Congress and BJP alike have encashed middle-class fears and gifted education gradually to private managements.
These governments are so much concerned about removing exam fears that have in the least even shown any willingness to bring children from poor marginalized sections into the fold of the education system. The vast section of poor do not dream of higher education, their survival barely depends on each day’s labour. For the surviving, each day is the fear. The government schools and colleges have only borne the ill effects of policies of governments. The ‘positive effect’ of such policies are seen in diminishing numbers of government schools and colleges.
The period of covid, as it unfolded before us, the helpless situation of millions in the country and governments inaction, merely proved the hollow in the education system.
A mere change in the examination process is equal to no solution, it is the whole of the education system that needs a change. A new approach towards education that will create a holistic environment for the overall growth of every child born in this country is the need.