No failures, no detention?

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These days, Indian government has directed the states not to detain any student up to VIII Class. However, there is provision for examinations at 5th and 8th classes. But even if any student fails in these examinations, he is declared to reappear after a gap of two months. The system is the best, but fake way, of projecting high literacy figures in India. It is nothing more than self-deception. The strange plea given out is that in case of failure, the student is bound to sit with students junior to him in age, thereby causing frustration. Let us analyze the logic. A class is composed of brilliant to average students and teacher is bound to teach in a way that even the average student can pick up. In case educationally poor students are not detained and allowed to be promoted to sit in the next class, it will result in addition of below average students and the teacher, if he is to take them along with, bring down his level of teaching affecting the entire class thereby lowering the standard of education. Now take the case of failures from another angle. If a student is not up to the mark in a class, will he be able to pick up his lessons in the next class, if he is automatically promoted? Certainly not. This way, continuous failure is bound to result in his acute frustration resulting in leaving the school at some time. That way, we are doing him total injustice by condoning his preliminary failure. On the other hand, why will the teacher be so serious in his profession when no student is to be detained and his result is destined to be automatically 100%? What is the criteria of justice to his profession when the only judgment depending on pass percentage is taken off? In this policy, India is copying the advanced countries little realizing that there is a huge difference between our teacher pupil ratio and theirs. A teacher there holds weekly or fortnightly tests and students are promoted on that basis. In India, in view of heavy classes, a teacher cannot do so.

The result of this ill-conceived policy is deterioration of education standard, which is better evident in government schools. There was a time when government schools were considered the best, but now are much lower in standard. About 55 years back, the government had decided not to detain any student up to third primary class, which, after a few years was extended up to 5th class. So, teachers did not bother much about teaching. When the government found that students, entering the sixth class were not up to the mark, they re-introduced 5th class examination. The result, primary school teachers who were to check the answer-books, decided not to fail any student. The result, deterioration continued and now the same story is repeated by the planners who have not learnt any lesson from previous blunders. I do not hesitate to say that the planners sitting in glass chambers, are devoid of reality. There must be an examination at each level and those who fail the pass criteria must be detained.

Alternatively, if a student gets less that 33%, rather 40% marks in one or two subjects he may be promoted but provide him some extra attention or coaching in failed subject/s to come up and if he consistently lags behind, issue him pass certificate in those very subjects. However, if he clears the dropped subject/s at a later stage, he may be issued a regular matriculation certificate. Of course, crux of the problem is that along with addition in course content, our worthy planners have failed to see as to how the teacher is to cover the added material within the same fixed time period. Also, no teacher should be put on any extra duty so that he may be able to devote his entire time to his students and in covering the syllabus.

To cope with the situation, there should have been simultaneous development of better teaching techniques for which the technology can also be utilized. I personally feel, that most of the X class mathematics syllabus can be brought down to VIII class and that too by way of self-study by students, where just occasional help of an elder may be required. Of course, the technique actively involves the students in learning process and instills first the basic concepts in their minds. So much can be done by way of developing better teaching-learning techniques to improve our education standard and take off heavy expenditure on private tuitions, which is telling on the economy of parents. We have NCERT, SCERTS, plenty of Universities, Colleges of Education and DIET like institutes, which need to be harnesses for producing better, highly effective and low cost teaching-learning techniques. Why not to harness these?

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