Examinations: An Exercise in Futility and Barrier to Academic Reforms

The present system of examination, rather than facilitating learning, acts as a barrier in broad-basing the curricula, introducing modularity, and offering wider choices because they pose a logistical nightmare in terms of examination and evaluation. Studies after studies, in India and abroad, have proved that such an examination system is not capable of assessing the talents, abilities, and potentials of students. As NEP 2020 is being celebrated annually to showcase its speedy implementation, it appears desirable to draw the attention of the academic community to this critical aspect of higher education at this juncture.

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Time to Rethink and Reform the Examination System

Alas, the colonial mindset of subjecting their subjects to the supervision and control of their masters has only deepened, as far as the education, examination, and evaluation systems are concerned. Isn’t it desirable or isn’t it the time to reform these terminal examinations to the teacher-based and school-supervised comprehensive continuous internal assessment – an idea that has been in discussion for decades?

The pandemic situation has been quite frightening this time. This indeed limits the choices to a compromised solution – a truncated examination, sufficiently delayed to allay the imminent threat of the pandemic. Whatever is decided by or for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), most state boards are likely to follow the suit.

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Reform Examinations to Promote Deeper Learning

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” The higher education system of India has major dependence upon the final examinations. This has been there despite the continuous evaluation system being in place for most of the programs. The cumulative performance of students in the prescribed evaluation framework leads to the award of degree with grade/marks/division. Therefore, it is important to introspect the prevailing examination system and envisage reforms to promote deeper learning.

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