A very hugequestion-mark

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Jun 2017 18:55:03






THERE is little doubt that each 10th standard or 12th standard child bringing in very high percentage of marks also brings a great happiness to the teachers and family and others. Each summer sees a tremendous celebration about high marks hundreds of kids score either in the State Board examinations or the Central Board (CBSE) challenge. Despite all that, a silent question has often battered countless people about the credibility of the marking system across the country. This question needs to be answered.
Having tried to understand the marking system and the categories through which marks are given to students, at all places -- the State Boards and the CBSE and other Boards and systems -- I have come to a sad realisation that the credibility of the school marking can be questioned easily.
Countless schools, in fact most schools, often post 100 percent result, and brag about the same. Realising the impact of the figure -- 100 pc -- it is absolutely natural for anybody to feel terribly proud of the outcome. Yet, a little doubt often raises its ugly head in thinking minds.
How can every child in a system pass and how can so many kids in a system attain such high marks?
I suppose, I also went through a school and examination system quite creditably. Many of my batch-mates are Ministers, bureaucrats, industrialists, diplomats, entrepreneurs, actors, singers, painters, sportspersons, sculptors, engineers, doctors, social workers ....! Yet, I do not remember at all that all of us passed with such high percentages in any of our examinations. Yes, there were Gold Medalists and first-prize winners among us. Yet, such high marks were out of our bounds. Very rarely did a kid break into the 90 percent-plus zone. Very rarely!
Today, however, what is happening is exactly the opposite of what we saw and knew then. Today, schools report literally dozens and dozens of their kids earning marks that are mind-boggling, to say the least. How does this happen?
There are quite many possible responses to this question:
One, the schools in our times were very bad and therefore could not produce 90-percenters in good numbers;
Two, the kids in our times were duffers who could not score high marks;
Three, the schools in the present times have suddenly acquired phenomenal excellence through terrific and most knowledgeable teachers;
Four, all of a sudden, the Indian kids have acquired some divine blessing of tremendously high intelligence that could put even an Einstein to shame for his very high IQ would feel a sense of having been made to look small.   ...!
Or, the fifth response could be -- there is something wrong going on by way of a collective conspiracy of inflated marking system.
I am too small a person to challenge all that is going on. But I know for certain that in our school days, any child who went for tuition classes was declared duffer and other kids mocked at him. Today, if a child is not sent to tuition classes, his or her parents are made to look like bloody fools.
What kind of corruption are we breeding in education? -- if I may ask!
This is a serious issue, of course, and I would like to initiate a public debate on that.
For, when I talk to teachers, when I interact with students, I do not get any actual evidence of the high levels of intelligence that is commensurate with their marks in examinations. Unfortunately, I have met countless teachers and students whose general knowledge is questionable, and whose common sense abominable. But, on most counts, the practical knowledge of these people is very high, stunningly so in comparison to what I have even at this stage of life.
For, many of them have told me, lowering their voices and hushing their tones, “You know, the world is not a straight place, Sir!” Each child knows what corruption is -- which I could not know until I was almost fifty years of age. Perhaps, I lived in a stupid world, and today’s kids are growing up in a smart world! -- I really don’t know!