The months of February-March have a unique significance for those associated with school education, which is pretty much all of us, because even if we are not working in school education, many of us have been through school… And February-March is the season of examinations!
Most of us would have struggled through this season in school.. Even a ‘good’ student, which simply meant he or she scores well in exams, perhaps knows that score doesn’t mean that he or she has truly learned. Yet, examinations determine what is learned in schools and later opportunities in life. In fact, they have such a determining role that schools engage, in however inadequate ways, only with that which helps students pass examinations. The pressure is often so high that, at the extremes, examinations even arbitrate between life and death.
Rohit Dhankar, founder of Digantar, a unique school in Jaipur, and professor at Azim Premji University, writes that this determining role of examinations is over a 100 years old. Apparently, the Indian educational policy, as early as 1904, had noted that examinations “had grown to extravagant dimensions, and their influence has been allowed to dominate the whole system of education in India, with the result that instruction is confined within the rigid framework of prescribed courses, that all forms of training which do not admit of being tested by written examinations are liable to be neglected”.
Read: Staying power of the pass-fail system. Do share your views on how this state of affairs can be changed…