The dipping pass percentage in the public examinations in the State brings home a truth that students are finding it hard to crack the exams. The exam statistics have been ringing warning bells among parents and educationists alike.
The results of the Intermediate Public Examinations-2022 declared recently may not have been as demoralising as the SSC exam results, but they are not impressive either. Only 54% of the students could clear their Inter first year examinations while those in the second year put up a slightly better show by registering a 61% pass percentage. The only solace seems to be the fact that the Intermediate students’ descent is not as drastic as the students who wrote the SSC exams this year.
The results have sparked a debate on the efficacy of the examination system. The stakeholders and even the common public seem to be divided in their views. People questioning its utility wonder why the examination should be the only barometer of performance. The majority, however, support the age-old system of conducting exams to test the students’ ability, asserting that it acts as a catalyst and helps students to invest in hard work. It brings out the best in them besides facilitating self-assessment of their individual capacity and learning the important skill of time management.
The opponents of the exam theory detest “the unnecessary stress it creates in the minds of students, which often leads to their under-performance, which in turn results in loss of confidence and in some cases, students slipping into depression.
Taking note of the ills plaguing the examination system in the State, the government has set on the task of rolling out reforms.
A beginning has already been made with the School Education Department bringing in changes in the SSC exam pattern. Among the slew of reforms proposed to change the education system, some have already started showing impact in a positive way.
Exam malpractice being the biggest issue that has been denting the government’s efforts to produce knowledgeable citizens, the exam pattern for students who wrote their Secondary School Certificate examinations in 2019 was revamped. The separate objective type question paper (bit paper) which was often helpful to students relying on copying, has been removed and the practice of giving weightage to internal assessment marks (20) in the annual scores has been done away with. This is mainly to check the “misuse” of the practice, especially by private school managements.
Another noticeable change in the SSC Board exams is the 24-page booklet (answer sheet) the students are given, unlike in the past when students asked for extra answer sheets which were attached to the main answer sheet.
Implementation of capacity-building measures among both teachers and students is an ongoing exercise to help them upgrade their knowledge base by utilising the many welfare schemes rolled out by the government in the education sector.
Inter, a different ball game
With regard to the Intermediate education, the students have the advantage of pursuing the subjects of their choice in different disciplines and therefore their reluctance to learn them is less, compared to the 10th class students who do not have a choice but to clear all the subjects.
“Among the 473 government junior colleges in the State, there is only a marginal decline in the public exam results this year. This is because reforms like introduction of jumbling system, not just in theory but also in practical examination, was introduced almost eight years back,” says V. Ravi, State president of Government Junior Lecturers’ Association. He says there are not many mistakes in the evaluation of answer sheets this time and informs that the strength of students in junior colleges has increased considerably after introduction of English as a medium of instruction.
A. Ajay Kumar, who runs a private institution in Patamata, welcomes exam reforms like use of CC cameras in the exam centres. One cannot expect good results without investing in hard work. “Industrious students will anyway pass with good marks, it is only the low performers who make the noise,” he says.