For the second year running, the school exams are cancelled in India. This year, even the board exams got cancelled. With no exams, there isn’t scope to ask questions to students. So, let’s try asking some questions to adults: The Government, the education establishment and also us, the parents.
Online education/online learning works, why not online exams?
Ever since the schools were shut down, the Government, Central and States, have been very enthusiastic about online education/online learning. Umpteen statements have been made that no learning loss has been ensured to students by the seamless transition to digital teaching mode. The claims say that the students are doing well, as they would have done by physically attending schools.
Now, the question to be asked is that if online education/online learning has been so successful, why can’t the same success be replicated for online exams? No, this is not possible. Why would that be? It will be said that there are issues with infrastructure/connectivity/integrity and all. It will be said that online exams are not feasible for every student.
Agreed, online exams do not work in India. Well, then how does online education/online learning work in India? If online exams, even as a concept, do not have a presence in India, how can online education/online learning have a real-life application? If online exams are looked down upon as a bane, why a diametrically opposite treatment for online education/online learning as a boon?
What did the education establishment do for a full year?
COVID-19 is sure to be blamed for exams postponement and cancellations in 2020. But in 2021 also? Even after one full year? When the emergency strikes without notice, we are unprepared. We say – what to do, we are helpless? However, when the emergency continues, even then do we continue to be unprepared? Even then, do we say – what to do, we are helpless?
Surely, the Government authorities and the education establishment that control the destiny of students as know-all didn’t assume that the pandemic will vanish in a month or two or even six months/a year. They are THE people expected to be with foresight, with immaculate judgement, with advanced tools to guide the country’s children.
So, what was the scenario planning that the education establishment did for one full year? What were the multiple options considered for the students? What were the considerations, trade-offs, alternatives basis the levels of the pandemic across the country for school and board exams?
Well, after one full year, we got the same answer – school and board exams cancelled, as they were last year. Did the education establishment do any homework at all for the last full year?
Everything moves on, why not the exams?
Between last year and to date, everything in India has got a move on. The country has wobbled across various stages of lockdown all throughout. The IPL, cinemas, bars and nightclubs have also opened, shut down again and will reopen shortly. However, one aspect has remained steadfast – The schools are shut the whole time.
As a country, we come up with paradoxical solutions. The safety of the children is the topmost priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By locking them inside and making everyone else free to their will. The future of the children is the second priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By cancelling school and board exams and continuing with everything else as normal.
The school and board exams are for a short duration, unlike school reopening. If the school and board exams are so important, that they are claimed to be, why not consider shutting down everything else for a week to ten days so that the exams are done and dusted with? Why can’t the country stand still for a brief time so that the students can write their exams in the mean-while?
If the nation has a hard lockdown, all of us would remain home compulsorily. Won’t we remain home for our children to write exams safely? Why can’t the Prime Minister of the country ask the citizens for this small contribution?
Why school and board exams can exist ONLY as a rote festival?
Are school and board exams an end in itself or the means to an end? If they are means to an end, which they are supposed to be, they can surely go beyond the three hours rote festival. Why can’t the education establishment come up with even a single alternative to exams in its current format? There can be multiple avenues to gauge the learning and the application of the students.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. COVID-19 lockdown called for online education/online learning. However, when it came to school and board exams, rather than desperate measures, we chose no measures, with exams cancelled. Is the three-hour rote festival so sacrosanct that we would rather not have exams in any other format?
The Adults Failed
Well, adults are not supposed to give exams. Also, our children are not taught to question the adults. What’s the bother? No answers required for any of the above questions or whatever.
The Government and the education establishment get away with their shameful and irresponsible failures and we, parents, remain spectators.
The nation continues failing her children. School and board exams are dead. Long live school and board exams.
What are your views on the subject?
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.