Memory vs Application, Examination System Needs Revamp

Results of CBSE class XII is out. Scores have shot through the roof. Topper in science stream had scored 99.7% in aggregate of five subjects. That makes nearly 100% in science subjects of physics, chemistry, mathematics and English. Such a high score has created several problems for average students. 
i. Too many students are competing for too few potential opportunities. Be it professional courses or general science streams, number of seats are limited given the sheer number of students that pass out of board exams. 
ii. Cut off for choice subjects in Delhi University has become unattainably very high. 
iii. A lot of private universities have come up. Many are willing to give admission, many a time just looking at high school marks. But expense of studying in a private university of any repute is nearly 3 – 4 times that of a government run universities. 

Another debate that has emerged is that are high marks in board exams do justice to ability of students? Many a students that score very high marks in board exams, are unable to apply themselves.  It has been a common complaint that despite so many students coming out of academic institutes, there is shocking lack of innovators and original thinkers. Does this mean, our education has become mostly a memorising exercise? Is there no scope for application? 

I was watching a program on TV about high grades in our board examinations. 

i. Most panelists agreed that our education system is rote learning.
ii. It is also agreed that beyond a certain point more than the grades it is the application of knowledge that becomes important. Even students agree, grades open doors but beyond entry point one has to survive on their ability. 
iii. In a country like India where seat to applicant ration can be as high as 1 to 100, some degree of objectivity in marking is must to avoid arbitrary decision making. 
iv. Many students from under privileged background have found access to higher education through current education system. 

Society has a way of looking at students and their parents through a prism of grades, schools, colleges and jobs. Many people who have stood up to societal pressure and found their own drummers,  have become successful.  But most of us do not find our inner calling. We do not know what we like? We enter courses which we do not like, our parents may like them based on their assessment of success in life, yet continue with them. 

Ideally, we should follow what we like to do in life. Many of us do not develop many hobbies, many do not read books beyond course work, most of us are really horrible in our soft skills. No wonder, we do not produce likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others. I guess, there should be emphasis on application rather than rote learning. There is should be some emphasis of awareness of outside world, of literature, philosophy and softer aspect of life. What good is a professional with 100% marks in hard science but totally corrupt because of lack of value system?


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