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The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India
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SCRAPPING OF BOARD EXAMS - BLESSING OR A CURSE?

by Neha Sardana

Centre of Public Policy in association with ASSOCHAM organized a seminar on "Scrapping of Board Exams - Blessing or a Curse?" at ASSOCHAM House, 47 Prithviraj Road, New Delhi, on 20th September, 2010.

This education policy has been under discussion ever since NCERT recommended it as a part of a reform process aimed at reducing stress on the students. The matter came into prominence recently when Union Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Mr. Kapil Sibal proposed to make the Class X Board Exams optional.

Some of the finest minds of the education industry came together at ASSOCHAM House to discuss the pros and cons of Scrapping of the Class X Board Exams. The seminar started with a welcome note by Mr.Vinay Rai, Chairman, Rai Foundation. In his speech, Mr. Rai expressed concern over the education system in India as a whole. He emphasized that we need to create a good quality education system by increasing the capacity in the schools and introducing more and more teacher training institutes. We also have to improve the students' enrolment ratio. He said we should come out of the education system introduced by the British that aims at producing slaves in the form of clerks and babus.

Mr. Vineet Joshi, Chairman, CBSE, emphasized on the role of entrepreneurship to be vital to make our country prosper. He pointed out some of the discrepancies in the existing education system like the pressure that is created on the students. According to him the evaluation system through board exams are also flawed. He emphasized on inculcating a holistic assessment process which should be a part of the learning process. He said that we should adopt Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), which is a system of school-based assessment that covers all aspects of student's development.

Smt. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, said that we live in an age where there is competition in every sphere and therefore, the need to prepare our children to meet the challenge of competition arises. So, the focus is now on whether exams would actually prepare children in facing the competitive world they have to enter some day.

We are at a juncture where there are many apprehensions and doubts in the minds of many parents, teachers and principals on whether the new system will really work for their children. I would like to draw attention to the words of Chanakya in Arthashastra:

"Swagrahey poojyate jyeshtaaha, swagraamey poojyate prabhuhu;
Swadeshey poojyate raja, vidvaan sarvatra poojyate"

For India to emerge a superpower in the 21st century, knowledge has to reflect in competitiveness and advancement of the human capital of the country. Human capital is the investment we make in our human resource. What is the best investment that we can make? Obviously, it is education.

It is here that the Ministry of Human Resource Development has a clear role to play. There have been various recommendations over the years by various commissions and committees on the need to revisit and review our examination system. Delving deep into the matter, it was understood there was a need to introduce an examination system that would evaluate the child in all aspects and not simply by what the child mugged up.

This is where Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation steps in to help assess the child not only on scholastic aspects, but also non-academic aspects. It can help evaluate how the child expresses himself, the kind of participation the child is going to take in the course scholastic areas which offers him the complete development, we want him to have. This would definitely help us to acquire the kind of human resource we need to support our country as it traverses the path of development and growth. We need those who can actually carry leadership and steer the country towards development and growth.

It is time for us to review the examination system at length exploring newer avenues that can give the dying system a fresh lease of life. We definitely know and realize that there are challenges in the newly introduced Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation but we have to give the system an opportunity to prove its mettle. We have completed the IXth standard and are doing the Xth now. We have to understand that a lot more training is needed to equip our teachers to take the CCE that is being introduced.

There is also apprehension in the minds of parents about their children's competitiveness. When the child realizes that there is no exam, then how do we equip the child to face the challenges and the competition tomorrow? It is essential that we remember, CCE is not a matter of simply doing away with board exams, the child shall be assessed all through the year, and not just during examination time implying, consistent effort by the child all through the year.

It has been over 60 years since independence and we have waited long enough. Reforms need to be brought in urgently now and in the process, there are bound to be apprehensions and doubts, towards which, we have to work undeterred cohesively. Disregarding the system in its nascent stage and not giving it a chance to perform would be a wasteful exercise and we would fail to make the best, of our resources and the system in that fashion.

Other eminent personalities who graced the occasion were Mr. Nalin Kohli, the Chairman and Founder Director of Vidya Sanskar International School; Mrs. Abha Sehgal, Principal, Sanskriti School, Mrs. Usha Ram, Principal, Laxman Public School; Prof. AV Singh, Professor and Head, NCERT and Dr. Sarvesh Naidu, Executive Director, Pathways World School.