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Reader View: Govt should see beyond an exam-centric education for students

YourTurn is our new weekly feature in which ThePrint's readers share their views or opinions in response to the question of the week.

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New Delhi: Amid a growing number of Covid-19 cases across the country, several exams in schools and colleges have either been postponed or cancelled.

We asked our readers: Is it okay not to have exams in schools, colleges this year due to Covid-19?

This is what some of them had to say —

‘For many, exams serve as the only motivator for studying’

No, it is not okay to not have exams in schools and colleges. Reopening of schools and colleges has already been postponed multiple times. Students are already struggling to catch up with their studies with online classes.

Cancelling exams will add one more deviation from the ‘normal’ student life. For the majority of students, especially college going ones, exams serve as the only motivator for studying. So no exams, no studying. Yes, it is not okay to have large gatherings but it has been more than 100 days since the beginning of the game of lockdowns. So, by now, the government/education ministry should have come up with an alternative framework to conduct classes or at least for examinations, at least one common exam for all subjects with multiple choice questions. It is important to set a good precedence — Sourabh SDG, Kolhapur. Twitter handle: @Sourabh7212

‘Not irrational to ask for a break from exams during pandemic’

We have spent our childhood keeping academic life and technology separate, phones are disallowed at most schools, technology is regarded as a distraction by our families and teachers, so when we are asked to merge them out of the blue, most of us find ourselves unable to perceive an online class as an environment for active learning. Examinations induce stress in the lives of students and their families (the fact that we have multiple helplines for exams is proof enough of that) and the pandemic has also been enough of a stress inducer in our day to day lives by affecting life, livelihood and mental well-being. I would hope it isn’t irrational to ask for a break from exams in the middle of a global pandemic — Aditi, Kanpur. Twitter handle: @a_deity_03

‘Forceful conduct of exams may compromise health of students’

Our prior experiences with epidemics and wars have highlighted the need to place safety concerns over everything. When it comes to education, a steep learning curve is what awaits as a result of the disparities created due to Covid-19. In such an environment of uncertainty, the prospect of conducting yearly examinations seems bleak. Forceful implementation of the same may compromise with the health of students, in addition to exposing the inequality existing in online education. Most importantly, the UGC should be concrete in its decisions. Students are not to be treated as lab rats to its newly-formed assessment guidelines that have been changing pretty quickly. Ensuring an all-inclusive education policy that promises timely assessment and safety is the top priority right now — Archisman Som, Kolkata. Twitter handle: @ArchismanSom2

‘Physical exams now can be dangerous for safety of students’

I don’t think we should move forward with university/school exams this year. Most of the school/colleges have an internal marking system which can be used to generate the final scores, for final year students, previous semester/year scores can be taken into account. Additionally, if it is necessary for the university to take the exams due to some unavoidable reasons, then they can use the online testing methods or they can evaluate the students on the basis of a research paper/assignment. Keeping in mind the current situation, a pen and paper test before the end of the fall might prove to be very dangerous for the safety of the students — Raja Reshav, Patna. Twitter handle: @rajareeshav

‘Postponing exams will consume time, put opportunities at halt’

The unprecedented situation has exposed how fragile our education system is. With UGC consistently changing its guidelines on exams have confused students more than anything. The most concerned set of students are the final year ones. Idea of postponement will only consume time and put further opportunities at a halt. Unprecedented situations shall look for such solutions too. Everyone should be passed and given provisional degree valid for six months and allowed to sit for job opportunities. Respective subjects should be treated as backlogs which must be cleared in the upcoming session through exams to receive official degrees — Syed Ali Ashraf, Lucknow. Twitter handle: @pehle_aap

‘Okay to grade people based on performances over entire year’

Being a doctor working on the frontlines in Covid-19 wards since the last three months, I am about to face the most important exam of my life in the next 40 days for MS general surgery.

Working in the Covid-19 positive wards with PPE, experiencing the fears that the community sees on TV, experiencing deaths almost every day and coming back and studying for an important exam has been the toughest challenge I have ever faced in my life.

I think it’s absolutely okay not to have exams one year. It’s okay to grade people based on their performance over the entire year.

The question is, are exams worth risking student’s lives?

Our government should change the perspective to look at students. Specially doctors who have worked sincerely and tirelessly since months. We have bent our lives, changed the way we live since months to make sure our patients are safe, can’t a couple of laws be bent for us doctors to not go through the additional stress? We won’t change the rigid laws for honest workers, the honest workers tomorrow may not choose the country. It’s a two-way street — Dr Swanit Deshpande (no city mentioned). Twitter handle: @swanitdeshpande

‘Exams will also increase burden on medical infrastructure’

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The same applies to the current unprecedented situation posed by Covid-19. Conducting examinations in schools and colleges will not only put the lives of students at risk but will also increase the burden on medical infrastructure. Hence it is wise to evaluate them on the basis of their past performances. The government should cut some slack for the students and move from exam-centric education and apply a more inclusive approach. Students can also be evaluated on the basis of projects based on real-life problems rather than fixating on exam-centric approach which only tends to kill the creativity of students. The government cannot have an apathetic approach towards the future of our country —Vandana Kumari, Gaya, Bihar. Twitter handle: @codegal48

‘Better to conduct exams for final year students’

In these times of uncertainties, it’s not possible to conduct exams for any institute or government. The better choice would be holding them after the pandemic, that means next year. But if we consider the case of final year students, they are carrying many burdens regarding career and their future paths. It’s better to conduct the exam for final year students, which makes more options open to them. Taking such decision by the government is also the need of the hour, making students less burdened. It’s comparatively easy to give them graduation certificates by conducting exams rather than leaving them in a state of turmoil — Amshudhar Grandhi, Nellore. Twitter handle: @Amshudhar1

‘Losing one academic year due to Covid-19 is not big’

Life is nobler than taking exams. Losing one academic year due to Covid-19 is not big if we could utilise this year in doing other works like running after our hobbies, helping our parents in their household works, spending time with grandparents, gardening, learning new languages etc. Many of the students are hostelers and they don’t possess proper study material. Even many of them are stressed since nobody knows, when the candle of our life would be put out. Thinking this pandemic as “disguised blessing” one should start doing that work for which one could not find proper time to do in normal days. Nature has always better plan for human being and one should start acting according to the former’s plan — Tuba Athar, Narkatiyaganj. Twitter handle: @kpstubaathar

‘Best to decide results on basis of internal exam marks’

There’s lot of uncertainty among students regarding their final exams, seems to be out of tune with the state governments. Students are of course facing stress and panic as Covid-19 cases have been exponentially increasing in India.

There’s a survey report I read online where 95 per cent of the students are not willing to write exams during pandemic, while there’s an option for online exam, which may be not possible as most of them cannot afford proper internet connection and required infrastructure furthermore, the management may not be equipped with the required software to conduct exams effortlessly.

By conducting exams in this pandemic, panic will do no good to their grades, mental health and stress. Students cannot concentrate and study during this season. Even parents will be so stressed and worried. Scrutinizing all these things, it is best to decide the results on the basis of an average of internal exam marks of current and previous semesters —P. Shulamyte, Warangal, Telangana. Twitter handle: @PShulamyte


Also read: Reader View: Schools, colleges can be divided into two shifts – morning and afternoon


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