Author – Manya Jaisinghani
Over past few months as the world is grappling with the apprehensive corona virus, the entire Nation’s educational structure has gone for a toss!
The HRD Ministry is brainstorming ideas to fathom the ability of students via year-end examinations. While CBSE is scouring ways to conduct pending board examinations, the UGC is jostling the students with their offbeat idea of open book examinations.
While the proposals are being brought forth and discussed, there is an utter state of chaos that is creating a havoc among students and teachers alike. The sole reason which is emerging behind this is our penchant to follow the redundant methods of gauging a student’s ability singularly by traditional pen and paper exams.
What should be the ‘WAY AHEAD’
Perhaps, if we analyse the roadblocks that hinder our country’s progress then one of the major factors is the obsolete system of education. The current system of theory- based examination does not match with current fast paced life of 21st century. This has been proven by our inefficiency to deal effectively with such unprecedented crisis.
This is particularly evident as many educational institutes haven’t been able to conduct examinations because they solely rely on class tests and exams to evaluate the academic prowess of students.
Keeping this thought in mind, the need of the hour is to infuse dynamism in the current forms of evaluation with the intervention of new age methodology and technology to revolutionist the existing pedagogy of evaluation and examinations.
Disguised Blessing for Students?
To deal with current times of uncertainty, many leading universities and educationists are in the favor to inculcate the online assessments as a medium to assess a student’s capabilities. They believe that online evaluations provide a holistic view of a person’s aptitude, interest and intelligence in a given subject. They believe that the online assessments offer a range of benefits over the theory- based examinations.
First and the foremost benefit is the development of analytical thinking and broader understanding of the subject. When a student is given a task to prepare an online assessment, it gives him/her an opportunity to explore the subject from diverse perspective and think beyond the bounds. For instance, if students are given a topic to research upon, it gives them an impetus to study the material provided and dig into the deeper realms of the subject.
From my own Desk-book!
Let me share an anecdote. This year as a part of internal assessment, I was given a term paper to write on any random topic based on applications of the principles of Social Psychology. The topic I chose was based on Religious Cults. As a part of research, I watched various movies, documentaries, interviews of survivors of a religious cult, read research publications and case studies and analysed them to draw conclusion based on principles of Social psychology.
So this term paper gave me an opportunity to grasp a broader understanding of theories and principles by applying them to real life scenarios which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. It helped me cultivate a broader understanding of the subject and gain a better insight into the cult behavior and group dynamics.
Similarly, such assessments put to test the analytical skills of a student needed to gauge his/her caliber in chosen field of interest. They aid in developing the desired temperament and a bent of mind needed for professional practice in real life settings.
Giving such assessments helps the child internalize the value of education and materialist the gains via direct implementation as learning will take you from A to B but knowledge will take you everywhere.
Furthermore, such assessments are easy to submit as well as evaluate online. These days when physical interactions are not feasible, such assessments can be easily submitted via mail. The teachers instead of solely relying on a student’s rote learning capacity in theoretical exams, can evaluate a student’s caliber of analytical thinking, interest in the subject, aptitude, gauge his/her level of understanding and can give an equal chance to all students to portray their skills and shine out.
Step Up, Our Dear Educators!
There is a need of initiative from the side of teachers, students and government alike to realist this vision.
Teachers can make the learning process interactive which inculcates both theoretical and application- based skills. The weight age for practical and research- based assignments in year- end evaluations can be increased. Proper incentives in form of research equipment, monetary aid etc can be provided by the universities to nurture the young spirited minds in the process to adapt to process of change.
The government can design a proper framework and issue guidelines for teachers to evaluate the assessments. Proper training can be organised for teachers to limit the possibilities for subjective evaluations and personal bias.
Students may seek it as an opportunity to hone their analytical and problem- solving skills. They will get an opportunity to explore the world beyond books and implement their classroom learning in research work and classroom assessments. Lastly, the students must be regularly reminded and taught to respect intellectual property rights and minimize plagiarism.
In a Nutshell!
Keeping in mind the current scenario as it’s said that the difficult times lay the foundation for change. The true essence of the process of education lies not in memorizing facts and mastering abilities but internalizing them to nurture our inherent potential as;
“Education is not piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills or abilities- but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.’’
-Thomas More, English saint
The time has come to embrace the change and pave the trajectory towards reformation of old systems!