Open Page

Unpredictability of expectations

Little brown haired boy in glasses sitting on a pile of books and reading, cartoon style vector illustration isolated on white background. Smart kid, school nerd reading a book. Library,

Little brown haired boy in glasses sitting on a pile of books and reading, cartoon style vector illustration isolated on white background. Smart kid, school nerd reading a book. Library,  

more-in

 

“Are you thorough with all the lessons? Confident of getting a centum?”

I was taken aback when the student replied: “Am thorough with the ‘blueprint’ lessons. Out of 21 if I study 14 I will get centum.”

Alas! What do we teach them? Getting centum? Or knowing the subject? Whose fallacy is that? Who should we blame? The system? The school? Society? Or the individual?

I recall my own school days. Neither the students nor the teachers discussed too much about the examination part. The planned timetable, though flexible, went on smoothly without any unnecessary changes. Teaching, the class environment, sports activities and extra-curricular activities were taken as serious issues and given equal importance, and examinations were a part of the curriculum plan.

Now, examinations occupy the whole of the plan. In my school days I never saw a ‘blueprint’. Real learning can take place only in classrooms where each student contributes in one or the other way, directly or indirectly, towards learning the concepts. Having been groomed by the teachers of government schools in a village and in a small town in a pleasant way, today I am able to get through to children of 16-plus in a city school. What happened to this kind of infusion of confidence among children? Why do we stay behind marks and not at all behind quality? What should we immediately look into?

As teachers we also confront problems in class while teaching. When something is taught with the noble intention of making them get acquainted with it and when you go a little deep into it, they stop us saying it is not important enough to know, and the question won’t figure in the final examination.

In my younger days I heard that Tamil Nadu topped the charts in education. What is the status today? We are way down in the list in spite of great hidden talents. Even now I rate the intelligence of students in Tamil Nadu very high! Due to the humdrum training for the examination-oriented system, they tend to lose the charm of learning and its applications.

The related move to be taken in this regard is to avoid granting centum in various subjects. Even if it is deliberately done, the standard of the individual is not disturbed in any way. The proportion will be maintained. The question paper should always be carefully crafted. Every question paper will be created with the average child in mind at any period of time. Hence, we are not doing any harm to any group of children by enhancing the standard of the question paper. As the question paper becomes tougher, the level of understanding and depth will go higher.

Unpredictability should be the hallmark of a question paper. We now expect the so-called “expected questions” in various subjects. What happened to the old trend? Is this the kind of changes society and great scholars dreamt of?

Producing human machines and cowards cannot solve the nation’s problems. Education should focus on bringing forth good leaders and good citizens who can solve the problems of the nation, which are growing in this era. The present system puts on the younger generation great pressure, and encourages adoption of short-cut methods to accomplish things, and hence they are in a position where they find it difficult even to solve their own problems. It is high time we realised the situation and took steps to train and groom young minds so they come to use the accelerated positive potential of our nation.

Who is going to bell the cat?

sumathi.arunachalam2@gmail.com

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 12:27:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/unpredictability-of-expectations/article21249439.ece

Next Story