Sunday, 27 September 2009

Is the three language formula at the Grade nine level a good Idea?

When I was given Ninth class last year, after teaching English to eleventh and twelfth for the past fifteen years, I came up with some amazing facts. First and foremost, I noticed that the students were not eager about English because of the three language formula. The upshot is that a student of ninth class has to opt for three languages in class ninth.The languages are, English, Sanskrit, and of course, Hindi. Out of these, the student is required to pass in any two languages. Thus, if a student passes in Hindi and Sanskrit, and fails in English, he will be considered Promoted. No wonder, this year when I was given tenth class, I noticed that there were quite a few students in class who had got, twenty out of hundred in English! No wonder these students were not performing well in class. It seems as if our educational system is intended to promote mediocrity in the interests of mass education! Simply promoting students despite of their poor performance in studies is bound to have serious repercussions at a later stage! It simply boils down to a game of passing the buck! If you pass all the students, then you have to provide them with jobs.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Has doing away with written Board exams at the Grade ten level been a good idea?

I personally don’t think doing away with the boards at the tenth class level has been good  for us.We still have to pass through a transition from a system which has been with us for the past many years. Lack of competition has made our students lose their edge in studies.I feel we should have waited for some more time and then reduced the weight age of board exams.Make board exams compulsory, but introduce internal assessment as an important part of board exams.There could be a 50-50% or 60-40% division of the marks for the board exam and the internal assessment.We should not have experimented with the studies of students at the Grade ten level! We shouldn't have gone for mass education at this level! Maybe remove exams at the primary level, but don’t do this at the intermediate level!

Now, students are not serious about reading their lessons because continuous evaluation has ensured that they are able to get through easily. So, it seems the absence of the fear of not doing well in a pen and paper exam such as used to happen earlier has meant that students today do not have very good exam skills.

Today it is October 2013 and when I return to this article I realize how much the decision of doing away with Board Exams the traditional way has caused students to lose their competitive edge! Students have lost their edge in examinations skills, and if there is anything that they are not able to do, then it is the inability to write answers in a term paper. Today students who are promoted to the grade eleven level find it very difficult to develop examination skills to pass their board papers at the grade twelve level. When grade eleven students sit down for their first terminal Summative   exams, they find it very difficult to complete the paper within the prescribed time limit of three hours. Has lack of exposure to competition as provided by Board exams in the past made our students dull and poor in other competitive exams? I guess the answer is yes. Today, our obsession for mass education has somehow taken away the quality that Indian Education once had. Don't you wonder why none of our institutions or even Universities and B-Schools don't figure anywhere in the list of the first two hundred top institutions in the world? I guess in time to  comes things will become worse. The idea behind removing board exams was to reduce stress, but CCA has somehow done the exact opposite with all sorts of activities being formulated to assess "formative" skills in students in a way that is meant to be "continuous"! This has lead to increased stress in teachers who have to prepare all sorts of activities, and for students it is nothing but continuous assessments, continuous tests! Welcome to the twenty-first century, the age of continuous testing!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Why don't Students want to become Teachers ?



Today, on the fifth of September 2009, we celebrated Teacher's Day in the Dhanpatmal Virman Sr. Sec. school. As usual students of class twelfth took up the roles of teachers.After the event we had a tete a tete with the students because we wanted to know how they felt about their experience as teachers. I was amazed to hear their observations. Most of the students expressed their reservations about being teachers in their future lives! They stated that they had a tough time handling the students, and most of them wondered how the regular teachers were able to teach the students throughout the session! Most of them stated that they would rather be peons than teachers. It is high time the society realized the fact that the job of a teacher is a thankless job. This is in spite of the fact that teachers are builders of the Nation. When will the authorities wake up to the fact that teachers are the pillars of the society, and that they are the builders of the Nation, and that their job is a thankless one, and that it is a job that few will willingly volunteer for? Most of those who volunteered to teach the students for the day came back with a strong feedback for not taking up teaching as a career option. They said they were intimidated by the task of teaching and wondered how most of their teachers could manage full classrooms with fifty to sixty students so tactfully. Moreover it seemed these pupil volunteers were daunted by the fact that they had to literally juggle between the teaching of the lesson, maintaining discipline in the class, and then making a graceful exit after class knowing perhaps that they had messed up and left the students crying for clarifications! Incidentally the students who volunteered to take the classes on behalf of the teachers belonged to grade eleven and grade twelve. Most of the volunteers had put on very formal clothes, and in some cases there was a tie thrown in! But what the students had perhaps not bargained for was having to teach an actual class and to see many students turn up.