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Updated: January 6, 2010 17:33 IST

Sibal hints at change in question pattern to test intelligence

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AWAKENING INTELLIGENCE: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
AWAKENING INTELLIGENCE: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Taking forward the process of reforms in education, the government wants to change the question pattern in examinations at school level to give more focus on testing the intelligence of children, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said on Wednesday.

The present examination format in the school system helps the students perform better by memorising the subjects, than using intelligence and their analytical abilities, he said.

The government is preparing an action plan to change the examination format to test the real talent of the students than encouraging them to memorise the subject contents and reproduce them in exam.

“Children will be asked questions to test their inherent intelligence. We are working on an action plan on how to have such examination system,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘New Education Policy’.

He cited the example of his days in Harvard University when he had to answer such questions which did not have any fixed answer in the textbooks.

“Our professors used to tell us that we can take textbooks to the examination centre. But these books will not be of much help because the questions will test the real intelligence of the students,” he said.

Mr. Sibal said the curriculum at the school level will also be changed.

Mr. Sibal cited the statement of Nobel Laureate Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, who on Tuesday said he had failed to clear entrance tests for both the IITs and reputed medical college decades ago.

“The examination system needs to be changed. Even a Nobel Laureate could not clear JEE those days,” he said.

Mr. Sibal said the government is working out on how to arrange funds for implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was passed by Parliament in July last year. The government has estimated that Rs. 1.71 lakh crore would be spent for implementing the Act in the next five years.

“Once we work out the funding arrangements, we will notify the Act,” he said.

The government wants a number of vocational courses, including courses on animation, paramedics and para-legal, should be introduced at higher secondary level.

He said film director Subash Ghai had met him recently and requested for introduction of a course on animation. The government is in touch with Mr. Ghai in evolving such a course.

He also said the government will set up a National Higher Education Funding Corporation soon to help poor and meritorious students take loan for studies.

Asked about the government’s views on continued attacks on Indian students in Australia, Mr. Sibal said the matter is being investigated and the government will make a statement after it gets the report.

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