As the Board exams near, the tension mounts, the long nights of endless studies and revisions stretch out.
Is it fair to have three hours judge the future of your entire career?
Is there any guarantee that you will be able to perform at your best in the space of those three hours, discounting what you have done throughout the year?
Is it fair that your admission into further studies would depend on what marks you scored in the subject in three hours?
Questions that trouble you, bother you, frustrate you. Questions you can do very little about except follow the system that has been continuing for decades.
The 10th Std and 12th Standard Board exams are over for this year, leaving behind a relieved but battle-weary mass of teenaged students who may not be able to sleep in peace till the results are finally out two months later.
The examination system in India, especially for the 10th Std Boards, the results of which decide which subjects — Science / Humanities / Commerce you will be able to take up in senior school and the 12th Standard Board results which determine which college/university you get admission in, are taxing on the students to say the least.
Throughout the year, the students slog keeping in mind the crucial exams that are to be held in the month of March every year. After a grueling day at school they have to rush off again for tuition for the school coaching is hardly enough to help them get the desired marks and pick subjects of their choice in 11th Standard.
Their performance in the other exams, tests, tutorials, etc held in the school throughout the year are not considered. As the Board exams near, the tension mounts, the long nights of endless studies and revisions stretch out. The parents, watching their wards slog, get caught in the tension trap too.
Then comes the D-day, the butterflies in the stomach, the typical loss of appetite and the overbearing tension till you get the question paper in your hands, let your pen fly on the answer sheet for the next three hours and there you are, done, your fate sealed, finite!
Rather than having a torturous end of the year exam, the education system should have an assessment system, which of course should include a final exam but that should not be considered as the be-all-end-all of the student.
What if he falls ill during the exam or is it not able to perform best due to some other reason? His performance in class throughout the year should also have an equal weightage in the final results. Wonder when will our education system administrators take note of this?
Image Courtesy: TribuneIndia.com
This short story was first published in Meghdutam.com (between 1999 to 2002).
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