Teachers’ meetings are being conducted to analyse their inputs and involvement in their responsibilities.
Everything seems to be going on like clockwork — just the way it should. Or, is it just a mirage? Perhaps this is the right time of the year for the parent, student and teacher to do a reality check.
Most schools have revision sessions before tests and examinations. They generate a question bank of sorts. The children are told directly or indirectly to concentrate on the revision sessions.
Parents and tuition teachers help the children out with the preparation. Most pupils get thorough with the “necessary portions” and score well. The tests and later on examinations are taken and evaluated — well, you know the drill.
While the process seems natural and harmless, it can turn out to be a quite a negative influence. It can uproot the fundamental aim of learning and education. Young students are being led by the nose to take up tests which prove to be a test of memory rather than understanding.
The very schools which claim to give holistic education shrink even the prescribed syllabus so that the students are not strained to look beyond a few questions.
Reading textbooks, ancillary reading material, referring to class notes are all relegated to the backburner because they do not count as “test portions”.
The learning that can be evinced from group study, working out varied problems, reference works are increasingly becoming non-existent because extensive reading or learning need not be displayed in answer papers.
The young learners cannot be blamed for wearing blinders because they are made to wear them by their teachers. When we look at the problem from the tutors’ point of view, it appears that they are shackled by several constraints. They are expected to cater to unwieldy numbers which makes it almost impossible for them to correct notebooks sincerely.
Then they have to live up to the expectations of the management and deliver cent per cent results as far as possible. When their increments and sometimes their employment depend on the results they deliver, they find it convenient to create “question banks”. This way they hope to step up the level of the results.
Multiple choice papers
The parents for their part do not really seem to mind this new infusion into the system right from primary school because their accountability comes down considerably. Sometimes, schools also opt for multiple choice question paper models partially or completely to make it easier for evaluation.
This method not only encourages blind guessing among students, but also conveniently circumvents the need to comprehend, work out or articulate their thoughts. The net result of this phenomenon precipitates as a mockery of education. No one is any wiser at the end of the day though everyone, the students, parents and teachers have gone through the exercise.
Today, we live in a world where education has been systematised. Learners go through the process of education in a set pattern and emerge as ‘educated’ people at various levels.
Where will all this spoon-feeding and holding hands lead them in the long run of life? Will their education stand them in good stead? Will they be in a position to think out of the box and handle unforeseen circumstances in life?
Can they come up with original or creative solutions to deal with problems? Will they employ just means to achieve their ends? How will they compare with their peer group across the globe? Will their accomplishments fill the lacunae that exist in the world?
The concept of “Question banks” was introduced at the university level, to help examinees to focus after browsing through an exhaustive material. To introduce the same, while shaping minds in their formative years in schools, amounts to committing intellectual suicide.
It is time to break this pattern and pay attention to learning for learning’s sake so that we can pave the way to developing inquisitive, fertile minds that are willing to go that extra mile before arriving at answers!