Had there been no cricket matches, we would have never found Tendulkar

For your views         

From TNN 13-09-2009

Off with the boards, on with grades? That’s unfamiliar territory for a nation that worships the marksheet. Are the young cheering?

........the proposed  switchover is not getting young people cheering? Yes, for Sibal’s move appears to have created worrying grey areas, not least the inability to fail. No child will be said to have failed, leaving young people confused and uncertain. “At the end of my Class X, if I don’t appear for the boards, how will I know how good I am at studies?” asks Denil.

‘There should be board exams in Class 8 too’

More is less for India’s unhappy parents, most of whom lament the government’s move to make the ‘stressful’ Class X boards optional. So what are parents’ concerns? The views of some naysayers:
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST | India, say parents, is a country with a huge population and only the fittest can survive. No one knows this better than T K Bansal, founder of Bansal Tutorials in Delhi and father of 14-year-old Rohan, who studies at Mother’s International School. “A student should be able to face a three-hour exam without going to pieces. All competitive exams, be it IIT, medicine or IIMs, are more than three hours long. I would have liked board exams in Class VIII too,” says Bansal.
FIND OUT WHERE YOU STAND | Geetha Balakrishnan, mother of a Class IX student at Mumbai’s DAV School, says she wants her daughter to take the boards even though they are optional. “That will give her an idea of where she stands.”
STREAMLINED FUTURE | How will students be allotted different streams in Class XI if grades replace marks, ask worried parents. Mumbai-based Pradnya Shenvi, parent of a Class IX student at R N Podar School says assessment (and streaming) will now be less accurate because students won’t know where exactly they stand in class.
TAKE-IT-EASY POLICY | Optional board exams make for complacent children, says Captain Ivor Law, father of Nicolas, 13, of Shri Ram School. And will schools and teachers put quite as much effort into Classes IX and X if there are no boards? Pradeep, a math teacher who gives private tuition, agrees that few children study for the sheer joy of acquiring knowledge. “The boards ensured they did. It was the first step in a competitive world,” he says. Law says laidback children will never learn how to work hard. Class X board exams also mentally prepared students for the more significant ones in Class XII boards, say parents.
UNEVEN STANDARDS | As marks are still the deciding factor in college admissions, there has to be a uniform standard of assessment across the country, says Meenakshi Malhotra, associate professor of English at Hansraj College and mother of Madhav, 13, of Delhi’s Sanskriti School. A system based on individual school assessments will create an uneven playing field and deepen the class divide further. How, for instance, will a tribal student from the interiors then compete with a student from a big-city school, asks Savyasaachi, parent of a 14-year-old and lecturer of sociology at Delhi’s Jamia Millia University. “Will such an education system be all-inclusive or create an exclusive elite?” he asks
UNFAIR RISK | Is it wise to let individual teachers assess students when so many are unfair and authoritarian? Haven’t we heard of government schools where children are beaten up, asks Malhotra. “How many teachers ensure a greater learning experience based on warmth and affection? What is the code of conduct for teachers under the new system,” asks Savyasaachi. Bansal adds that teachers will now be blamed for a lot more than just being unfair. “While earlier the CBSE was blamed for suicides, now teachers and the school will be the targets.” I ro n i c a l ly, those with sons say girl students have an unfair advantage, can sweet-talk teachers and walk away with good grades! “It’s a natural tendency among teachers to believe girls than boys if both are pitted against each other,” says Bansal. “Boys are definitely the weaker sex here.”
NEW BURDENS | Will the new system mean that children will be burdened with assignments, projects and group discussions 24X7 now? “I want my child to enjoy his childhood, play football and watch films, instead of being a bookworm,” says Savyasaachi. “Will the new education system draw on the genius of India?”


For your views