The class XII results are out and once again I am flummoxed at the results. 499/500 in humanities! 99.9% in subjects like English, history, psychology etc. I fail to understand how one achieves that except if the paper was entirely a multiple choice one and that is no the case. A couple of years ago a topper had admitted that she has learnt all the books by heart. My heart went out to the poor child and to all those who like her mug up the text book word for word. But that seems to be the way to go, or so it seems. I feel sorry for the children who have been usurped of their right to play, have fun, be creative, think out of the box, develop extra curricular skills and so on. To ‘succeed’ you have to excel in rote learning. Any child who cannot do that cannot get admission in the prized colleges and universities. Sadly the 99 percentile is something Project Why children cannot achieve as they run the race with many handicaps and try as we do, we cannot give them all that their peers from better homes have.

Quite frankly in my opinion a 99% obtained by rote learning does not define an intelligent child and does not open doors to carriers in today’s world.  What is needed in the Information Age are skills like creativity and imagination, critical thinking, problem solving, initiative etc. A far cru from rote learning. This is the antithesis of the education system our children follow and which is rooted in the colonial past where what was required were pen pushers willing to obey orders. Education as we know it needs to be turned on its head.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an article about a proposed change of pattern in grading class X and XII examinations. The article was music to my years as it talked about a possible revamp of the examination pattern with a view to discourage students from rote learning! The new pattern would test students on their analytical skills and reasoning abilities instead of blind copy pasting of textbook text. The plan has been submitted for approval and it is hoped that the changes would be effective in 2020. This is a huge step in the right direction and I do hope it will lead to more changes in the education system itself. Way to go!

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