Thursday, May 7, 2009

They’re Over!

Twenty Seventh Day of March in our Lord’s year 2008. You may be wondering why I am expressing myself as if I am writing history. Well, for only one reason it was a historic day for my fellow crusaders of the tenth standard who bid adieu to turmoil and embraced a new phase in their lives. The board exam is an excruciating yet significant event which comes with god’s grace twice in a student’s life. In the course of this article I will attempt to make you think again about our education set up and the board exams.

Recent reports compiled by a Washington based think tank said that Indian students are among the brightest in the world but the education system has terribly failed to harness this potential and convert it into economic gains. As the industrial era draws to a close a new world order has set in with knowledge at the helm of its economy. Education and knowledge will replace high production as a pre requisite for economic prosperity.

It is more relevant today than ever before to demand for the latest in education. Let me bolster my argument by giving an example- if you apply for a job with Infosys Technologies and if you’re lucky enough to get it you need to undergo another year of training before you can join the company. So this means what you learnt at engineering school is not enough. This implies that education institutes are not teaching what one needs when one enters industry. It is high time we demand a revamp of the education system in this country.

The only grudge I have against the Central Board of Secondary Education is that it thinks examination is the only method of evaluation. It’s almost suicidal to believe that examination is evaluation rather than examinations being a component of evaluation. The world over, educationists are moving away from examination centric systems. New procedures for holistic evaluation are being devised in practically every country. We have almost frozen in time as far as education in India is concerned. I am unwilling to believe that we do not posses the capability to innovate new methods of evaluation. The present system according to me should be locked up in a museum for the future generations to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.

The buzz word these days as the case is every year when the Board exams are on is ‘stress’. I implore you to see the present scenario. On the basis of the three hours a student is given to manifest his or her abilities on paper, his or her whole life is decided. From the job he gets, the salary he shall receive to his standing in society is decided by just two examinations. And an examiner needs to spend just 14 minutes to pass an unchallengeable judgment on your intellectual capabilities.

Taking the average human life at 65 years one will spend 569400 hours on earth. Interestingly, 569370 hours of your life depends on the 30 hours you spend giving board exams. So 0.0052% of your life determines the nature of your entire life. Now, if you don’t get stressed in these circumstances then I think you will be revered in temples across the nation.

The Central Board of Secondary Education can give the CIA a run for its money when it comes to secrecy. There is no transparency in the manner in which answer sheets are evaluated. Whenever questioned over transparency the Board conveniently says that it is not practical for it to provide the transparency the victims of the horrors of the board demand. The Tamil Nadu education board provides photocopies of a candidate’s answer scripts on demand and on the payment of postal costs. After which a student can raise his or her grievances with the Board. This defeats the very excuse the CBSE is trying to give all of us over the issue of transparency.

In conclusion I would say the Board Examination is the largest form state sanctioned terrorism in the world even larger than what the al- Qaeda had unleashed with 9/11. The CBSE must be tried for Crimes Against Humanities in The Hague. Last but not the least we need to come together in order to arm twist our dear elected representatives to initiate change in this sphere.


  1. The Indian education system is desperately in need for change. We are still following standards and procedures that are almost as ancient as India itself. There is a widely felt need for change in methodology of teaching and our curriculum needs to be restructured to meet the needs of an emerging India. More importantly, the examinations need to be made transparent. It is a student's right to know where he has erred. Yet we are kept in the dark, with regard to our answer sheets. Lastly, students study so hard for their exams and see it as important. Yet more often than not, there is some or the other problem with the paper. This ranges from inane spelling mistakes to questions that were not supposed to be asked at all. If the student can be responsible then why can't the Board be too? The only way change can come, is through pushing for legislative reforms. We should all try and get our representatives to lend us an ear and make our voices heard – for the sake of future generations of students.

  2. I completely agree with you. It's pathetic to have to live the rest of your life on the 3 hours in which you might have aced or ruined a paper. Plus, it is impossible to evaluate a students potential by just seeing if he's written exactly as the books which you wrote in the first place. You're rubbing your views and sequence of events rather than giving a child a chance to express his views on the subject.