Thoughts? The new Sibal proposal to scrap Class 10 board exams...

mango_mama 2009-06-26 10:05:00

Check out the newspaper headlines. Central govt proposal by the new HRD minister Kapil Sibal to scrap 10th class board exams (make them optional) for now for the CBSE schools and an overarching future plan to have a national board (vs. CBSE, ICSE...state boards etc.).

To support this certain changes in ways schools work: replacing grades with marks, semester system, continuous assessment, an independent accredition organization to accredit/certify schools...

The idea they say is to bring "the joy back to childhood" focus on the learning, the process vs. cramming for exams. Also to avoid educational malpractices (papers leaking out, capitation fees etc.)

Of course, lot of political, logistical and educational reform "stuff" needs to happen to make this successful.

1) Wondering what parents thought? Good idea? Bad idea?

2) How can this work well? What steps?

My personal feel is that it is good. :-) It will take focus off from exams and more towards learning and also other activities and sports. But to make it successful many steps will need to be taken to change education in schools, the mindset, teacher training etc.

On a lighter note, there will be a vaccuum--we are all so exam oriented. I know so many working moms take off from work for the all important 10-12 class boards, the tutors, the training institutes. Of course, we competitive Indian parents will channelise energies towards the other entrance exams or something else...



2009-07-06 17:18:12


a really good discussion out there...and some points are really well said,set me thinking...can some one pass on this to our so-called rule-makers...

2009-07-03 17:24:31


Here are my thoughts. The proposal to scrap the 10th exam does not solve any underlying problem in the system. What will happen is that all the focus will turn to some other singular event like the 12th exam or there will be some new alternative invented. I think many of us agree that our current education system focuses too much on rote learning, regurgitation and the number of marks scored in 1 exam. It has been my experience, that systems behave based on what the measurement principle is and what the incentives in the system are. Today's system measures children based on memory and how many different things they know, rather than on applied knowledge. The incentives are also highly stacked in favour of children, teachers and schools who do better in the measurements. If we really want to change our system, we need to make a fundamental change in how we measure what children are learning. Not only do we need to go to a more continuous assessment model (agreeing with Sumo), we also need to change what we test for. We should be testing for applied knowledge, which is how students apply the principles they have learnt rather than their memory and ability to regurgitate the principles. Students should be given more real-world challenges that they attempt to solve using the principles they learnt. If we do this, more focus will be devoted by teachers and schools to ensure that children truly understand and can apply what they learn. Another fundamental change we need to make is in what aspects of education our system focuses on. Today, a majority of our schools focus on what are considered to be analytical subjects - Science, Maths etc., while leaving to the dust the creative subjects - Languages, History etc., We need a combination of both analytical and creative skills to succeed. A couple of years ago, I saw a report that said that a majority of Fortune 500 (500 largest companies in the world) CEOs had Liberal Arts degrees not MBAs or Engineering degrees. A Liberal Arts degree is a general arts, languages degree that is conferred by many US universities. The report said that these people had got to the top because they often solved problems that others had been stumped by. Why were they able to do so better than others? It said that because they have a Liberal Arts education which focuses on creativity, they were often able to think in a new way and were not restricted by the fundamental principles that many of the analytical degrees like MBA and Engineering infuse in students. These folks basically created breakthrough solutions and thus rose to the top. The analytical thinking helps, but it is not the only factor. A third and more radical idea, which many people disagree with me on is the multiplicity of boards of education in India today. For India, I believe strongly that we need one board. Each board seems to have a different focus and often different testing principles. Even more worrisome, is that each seems to have a different way of awarding marks in their exams. This leads to significant skewing towards one board or the other. For example, a few days ago, I saw the Tamilnadu Govt announce counseling for medical seats. There were a minuscule number of CBSE and other board students called for counseling and virtually 95% of the qualifiers were from the TN state board. I found it hard to believe that the children who came from CBSE schools were so overwhelmingly poor in the academic qualifications vs the TN state board students. I think it is more because there is no normalization of marks between the various boards. So my suggestion for solving it is to go to a unified board across India. What we really need to do is identify the fundamental problems and solve them rather than have ministers like Kapil Sibal toy with half-baked ideas. Education is what has made India what it is till now. However, we need fundamental educational changes to adapt India to the coming decades and to continue its rise. We need to find the right solutions and apply them as quickly as possible.

2009-07-03 13:51:31


The poll on the site is virtually tied 50:50 between those in favour and those against. :-)

2009-07-03 12:35:38


Very true. I agree with Sumo. Judging, rather deciding a person's future just based on the 10 days performance does seem unfair. Students who put in a lot of effort throughout the year may score less in the final exam due to lot of unforeseen circumstances and also are at the mercy of correction! It makes sense to assess the student periodically through the year so that the stress levels will come down and also the effort put in will be fruitful!

2009-07-03 09:37:40


Hi, 10th Class board exams are in a way a mock for the final, all-important 12th school outgoing exams. I guess 10th exam helps the student /guardians assess their own capability and also to decide the broad stream (science/arts/IIT,etc) of further studies. Beyond that, it does not serve much except on the negative side - stress, malpractices,cramming two years portion into one year by some schools, etc. An interesting thought is that with some 14years of schooling already behind them when the students are in 10th grade, may be it is high time to expose them to competitive exams! I think that what would be more impactful is to reduce the importance given to the marks obtained in that one sitting-public exam and instead have a way of continuously assessing the child. I know this sounds too futuristic but is still done in some way through internal assessments, etc. What is required is to have a uniform system for regular assessments which can feed into a final assessment. Somehow, the child's future (well, in some cases, as admission into 12th is also restricted to top performers for some courses and in some schools) being decided by 10 days of performance alone, sounds a bit stunted, isn't it? Cheers, Sumo


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