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The Race to Ace Examinations: Where are we going wrong

Asmita Srivastava
theteacher.in

When our ‘ever-offended’ Nation woke up to a rather comical news of a certain state topper explaining the subject of political science as something to do with cooking almost two weeks back, I doubt if the countless concerned parents and academicians in the country, sensed what lay underneath.
 
The state of Bihar was in limelight last week for all the wrong reasons. Its state toppers failed to answer rudimentary questions about the subject they had topped, when interacting with the local media soon after the results came out. Shrestha, who topped the Science stream, seemed oblivious to the most reactive element in the periodic table while Arts Topper, Ruby Rai, got it all wrong when she pronounced political science as ‘prodigal science’, with no certainty. 
 
A similar incident had happened in Bihar a year ago, when parents and relatives climbed multistoried school buildings to hand cheat-chits to students who were appearing in the exams. But, with this incident coming to light, the amount of fraud happening at such a large scale in India’s education sector has only been exposed to worldwide criticism. 
 
These reports instantly deepen my concern, when in the same newspapers I read or get to know, on a daily basis, about bright and young students taking extreme steps under examination pressure, parents with high expectations over-pressurizing their children to crack countless examinations and bright minds succumbing to societal pressure when forbidden from following their calling.
 
This is where teachers and guardians need to self-assess. Aren’t we contributing to the wreckage/scam (whatever one wishes to describe it as) which has given the country, state toppers like Ruby and Shrestha? If yes, where to stop? Where are we going wrong?
 
The foremost thing that every parent/teacher needs to understand is the change of mind set. It is the first and crucial step towards creating dynamic, adaptive and curious souls. Unnecessary emphasis on securing high marks in every examination needs to stop. Marks must not be considered as the sole parameter to measure a growing child’s intelligence. Assessments and examinations are just a way to ascertain where the student stands in terms of understanding of concepts and phenomenon. The results, in no way, guarantee the success rate of any individual. 
 
With incidents like these coming to light, it is hard to turn our eyes away from the severity of the issue at hand. Somewhere, something is gravely wrong in the education system that is producing desperate students and parents who are ready to take any step to clinch on to a rank. This must concern every parent, every teacher and every academician of this country. We need to start asking the right questions to identify and amend where we are going wrong as responsible guardians of the country’s future.
 
 
If you have anything to share with us regarding the topic mentioned in the article or discuss the state of education in India, write to us at vibha@greycaps.com
 

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