Friday, June 26, 2009

Educational Reforms in India - Are they headed the right direction (?)

Yesterday was a day for Educational news in India.
If Manniya Mayawatiji behenji had her way, you only need to pass 5 subjects to be declared succesful. No doubt, other chief ministers will try and outdo her to gain politicial mileage:
  • Karunanidhi will declare that the pass mark for OC, BC, MBC, SC and ST in Tamil Nadu has been revised from uniform 35% for all categories to 98%, 30%, 25%, 20% and 10% respectively. To provide equal platform for all, the pass mark for OC will increase by 0.5% every year for the next 3 years while the pass mark for other categories will decrease by 2% every year for the next 3 years.
  • Laloo & Sharad Yadav will join hands and raise voice to insist that OBCs, SCs and STs be given special status in examinations. They will be given question paper one hour before the exam start.
  • Muslim leaders will insist that as an oppressed class, they be considered given the SC status and hence be eligible for 10 - 20% quota of SUCCESFUL candidates irrespective of whether the candidates pass or fail.
  • Christian leaders will insist that they be provided a 20% quota on the total number of schools in the country. 
  • Karnataka & AP politicians will insist that parents be allowed to pay money in lieu of marks for their children. The formula suggested is that the parents pay Rs. 10,000 (OC) per mark in each paper while the amount for BCs, SCs, STs, Muslims and Christians are Rs. 100, Rs. 10, Rs. 1, Rs. 50, Rs. 75 respectively
Okay, joke apart - i want to discuss the Anna University results to showcase how Mayawati & Sibal are headed the wrong direction. In the Tamil Nadu engineering admissions, 125000 students have been declared eligible for approx. 110,000 seats. 
Bottomline: If you don't get 98% and above, you shouldn't dream of studying in a mainstream course in leading Engineeing colleges in Tamil Nadu. And Ms. Mayawati & Mr. Sibal and stating that they want to de-stress kids from the rigors of exam. What is more impossible? Having only one exam in 12th (10th is scrapped) based on which your life ahead is decided or having multiple exams (2 or preferably more!) to ensure that kids gets acclimatized to the enivornment of competition. 

Even today, students of Andhra Pradesh state board appear for 3 public exams - 7th Standard, 10th Standard and 12th Standard (called INTER). I think that's a better path than scrapping exams. Have multiple public exams but maybe grade system in 7th & 10th and mark system in 12th. One of the strengths of Indian students seen globally is their basics taught in middle & high school. Where our system lacks is the ability to provide free thinking to the kids and this method isn't going to encourage folks in free thinking. It will only ensure that kids join coaching institute in their 8/9th standard to target 12th  exams and thereby missing on the basics. Mr. Sibal - I don't have too much hopes on Behenji. However, i can appeal to your senses. Don't Scrap 10th. Retain it, better still, introduce graded public exams in 7th Standard. 

PS: I cannot but take a dig at Reservation system in Tamilnadu. The news release from Tamil Nadu shows that 8 of the 10 Toppers in Engineering Admissions come from "Backward Class". And this isn't an exception. Look back at 2008 & earlier data and you will see that folks from BC community usually have done well. Isn't it time to decrease the quota for BC community and re-classify them as Forward Class. Or is it too much to ask from a political system that works towards taking our society backward everyday?

PPS: Globally, yesterday will be remembered as the day when we lost 2 great artists - Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett (Charlie's Angel). For all his flaws, Jackson is the King of Pop and inspiring folks worldwide (hello, Prabhudeva and Lawrence Rahavendra)

1 comment:

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