17 Aug 2020

Examining Examinations

“Educational institution must not be a dead cage in which living minds are fed with food artificially prepared. It should be an open house, in which students and teachers are at one.”  This statement of Rabindranath Tagore is as relevant to today’s Indian system of education that follows a yearlong of classroom-centric education as it was when he said it.

 In the contemporary system of education and examination in India, the utmost importance is placed on the students’ capacity to mug up information and jot them down in their answer sheets. Lots of efforts are made to keep the curriculum comprehensive, but the need for introducing the students to the concepts in real world is, perhaps unknowingly, neglected.  Tagore rightly said, “Nature is the best of all teachers. Nature will provide students with necessary situation to learn things.”

The point here is, knowledge without application is futile, and similarly education without experience is also unproductive. Students must be provided with broader avenues for learning, where they can observe, analyse and describe things on their own, and the teachers can help them by correcting their methods & guiding their efforts. Thus, not just teaching, but examination also can be made into a less classroom-oriented system.

An overwhelming majority of mandatory courses taught to the children is theoretical for upto X grade. In senior secondary curriculum also, vocational subjects e.g. music, drama, painting etc are only for namesake. Tagore attached great importance to the fine arts in the educational curriculum that he introduced in his ‘Shantiniketan’ as these skills “enrich one’s soul”. Hence, vocational courses need to be given immense attention and importance.

To conclude, the Indian system of education needs to be ‘Indian’ in essence. Significant improvisation can and should be done in the examination and teaching methods on the basis of the ancient gurukula system.

Written by -Nishank Vadhera