Say this one word in front of any school going child and you will see a hilarious mix of reactions! And the word is the much detested, much debated, much feared – examinations.
This word can take off smiles from faces, turn nights into sleepless and make hearts beat faster. This is the word that has impacted and haunted students for generations and given teachers secret pleasure. But this word can be used in contexts other than schools too. An examination can be defined as a detailed inspection or analysis of an object or person. Doctors examine patients, mechanics examine cars and architects examine homes. But each of these is accompanied with some form of anxiety or the other. Before going for a doctor’s check, patients are anxious and nervous in anticipation of results.
Going back to school examinations, which I want to focus on in this current post, they were introduced to judge the quality of education and learning. They were a main criterion for progression of students to next standards and classes, or to get into universities, or to progress to jobs further on. While at some level these examinations made a lot of sense, I am not sure how relevant they are into today’s world. One thing is for sure, it has diverted attention from learning to mugging, from understanding to just scoring well and passing! For teachers, it means that they are also focused on making sure that they show up well on those score cards against other teachers, so they may actually decide on what and how to teach just on the basis of examinations!
There are other disastrous effects of examinations, especially being noticed in India these days that need a particular mention here. There has been a series of news about students who have taken their lives under pressure of examinations and the competition that comes along with it. It breaks my heart to see those little lives full of potential just being taken away like that! I feel that there was so much that each of them could have seen, done and achieved; and how they underestimated themselves just using the limited yardstick of exams!
What I just want to say is that examinations are necessary and useful in many areas of our lives. But people in general need be constantly reminded that examination results may not provide the best assessment of an individual’s talents and capabilities. So looking at a person’s worth just devalues and undoes everything else that he or she is capable of. We need wiser administrators who redesign the system, so that it can produce better youngsters who understand how they can impact everything around them and lead us to a greater future for the country!