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Examinees and a prisoner

Final examination for student in a university

Final examination for student in a university  

A length of time as an invigilator brings up some questions

The time is 11 a.m. “One and a half hours more,” I said, aloud. No sooner had I finished, I could see physics in action, the wave motion of sound making the occupants of the room fidget. They are engineers, and me, a prisoner.

I must say these occupants are indeed a rather peculiar bunch, some of them muttering to themselves, some giving an empty stare at me, a few lazy yawns here and there. All this while I am pacing the room back and forth, like a tiger in its zoo enclosure. How I longed for the clock to tick faster, for my freedom, but the needles only suggested a frozen moment for hours together.

The room has fans and lights, doors and windows, benches and blackboards. Apart from the constant whirring of the fan, the only sound I hear is the flipping of pages and an occasional drop of the eraser or a pen rolling off the bench. Thanks to the occupants for bringing in some aural quality.

At this point, the silence is broken by a latecomer, panting hard from his climb of eight metres from the ground. With a tone of stern kindness required of my current role, I instructed this person to get separated from his mobile and settle down.

This being a university examination in progress, it is the culmination of a whole semester’s learning for a student. The environment had to be conducive to allow an array of mental proceedings of questions to be comprehended, be it illusive or conventional; transfigured to answers descriptive or precise, flowery or straight, graphical at times with an overall topping of cosmetic underlining, and section separators, all to gain marks from weary evaluators checking bundle after bundle of answer sheets. Examinations are dotted with crests of exhilaration and troughs of dejection.

What’s in it for me? I am there only to bridge the trust deficit between students and the management. The occupants of my room were not into anything fishy but giving casual glances around to suggest they were bored of the pen. Imagine my plight if they were already experiencing boredom.

I was happy to see a handful of serious performers, which justified my presence; I was assuming that it was high time artificial intelligence and robots replaced human invigilators like me. Just then, a student requested me to lend him my bangle to make a circle diagram. I found another using the identity card for a scale.

Suddenly it occurred to me that students had come a long way while systems are still lagging to evaluate a new generation. Have examinations become obsolete instruments of evaluation?

I leave this question unanswered; I need now to get back to the students in the time left, to put my calligraphic signature on their answer books.

archanaj1904@yahoo.co.in

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 4:40:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/examinees-and-a-prisoner/article23865680.ece

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