In 2005, when the results were out, no one had told me the futility of scoring x% in your Boards. I believed that this was an important milestone and that hereon, my report card stating this number, would define me.
Nearly a decade later, the results for the CBSE Board exams are out and once again, the frenzy to score a 95 plus is as big as it was back in my days. I was amused to see this a few years back when my brother was giving his Boards but now, I feel disappointed. Despite n number of research studies elaborating the futility of such evaluations, we are still hell-bent on stitching a child’s future with a score. Not only does this evaluation fail to test the child’s acumen, it is also a useless exercise that fundamentally excludes those who cannot do rote learning.
Joint Review Missions from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have consistently reported a decline in reading and math levels among children who belong to the 5-16 age group. Even if a sizable number of students pass Boards or score a good number, the learning crisis in India is huge. Not all the students who clear examinations are sufficiently equipped to make the transition to a higher grade. Despite having such findings at hand, it is discouraging to see the State invest a lot of effort in promoting ‘top scorers’.
It is also worth remembering that scoring a whopping number for the tenth or the twelfth boards does not automatically mean a successful career. The handful of people I know who are still nostalgic about their glorious school days, are struggling to reconcile with their jobs. So, who are we kidding when we gush over a ninety plus when all that it means is a brief moment in the spotlight?
We are still miles away from ensuring 100 percent enrollment and providing adequate resources for our students. We do not have schools within 5 km radius as promised by the RTE act and in 2018, we are still struggling with high drop-out rates. In addition to all of these concerns, a sizable number of children are ditching school to support their families. What are we then thinking when we ‘celebrate’ top scorers?
Very relevant points made, Deepti. The fact that 'end-of-year' 'make-or-break' evaluation is highly arbitrary or subjective heightens the problem and makes the situation even more poignant. As you suggest, we must focus our energies on widening the education base and on heightening the richness of experience students get at the school level, not focus merely on scoring high grades/marks in one set of exams.