E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal’s move to scrap examinations for Standard X has received universal acclaim amongst students.
Although the teachers could lose out a sizable chunk of money in evaluation of papers and a bonus to re-do wrong evaluations, children are already celebrating with high-fives, pizza and Pepsi™.
I went around schools to gauge the prevailing mood.
In the first place I went, nervous parents were standing in a queue to face the exams, a prerequisite for admission of their kids to LKG in a play school.
I asked one of them his opinion of the Sibal Plan to abolish exams.
“I whole-heartedly welcome it! Kapil Sibalji should first ban the mandatory interview/ exam for parents before their children are admitted to LKG. This is the second school I have come to face an exam as I failed in the first,” lamented the father.
“Why? What happened?” I asked.
“In the first school, after I filled the form along with the Rs 500 fees, the secretary of the interview board gave me a guitar and asked me to sing Salman Khan’s latest hit song ‘Mujse shadi karo……’ I haven’t even heard of that song. Instead, I sang ‘My shayar tho nahi, magar….’ from Bobby. They all had a hearty laugh and asked me to come back for the exam next year fully prepared. My son knew the song and he was very angry with me for being such an ignorant idiot.”
“It’s so sad,” I empathised.
“My life has changed ever since. I’ve been taking tuition lessons after my office hours learning Bollywood songs, mugging up all the brands of motorcycles and cars, and the jingles of chocolates. My son has also made me learn by heart the Rin ad ‘Doosra ball bhi sixer hoga, Sir’ and ‘Walk when you Talk, sirji’ ad of Abhishek Bachhan. If I fail this time, my son will never forgive me. Kapil Sibalji is my only hope.”
Next, I met a mother who had come for admission for UKG for her son but had flunked the exam for parents.
“I knew all the jingles, ‘Little stars of India’, and the names of those had got ‘Uttam’, ‘Athi Uttam’ and ‘Sarvottam’ in music competitions. But I was given a practical examination. They asked me to transfer a picture from a mobile phone to a computer. I didn’t even know how to connect the cables. I told them I could draw some pictures from Microsoft Word ‘Paint’ which I showed. When they laughed at my pictures, my son who was also present grabbed the mobile from me, connected the cables and downloaded the picture in 30 seconds.”
“Then, what happened?”
“Since I had failed the test they denied him admission. The education minister should immediately abolish this outmoded horrible practice and help mothers like me. My son has taken my failure to his heart and insists he won’t go to school until I master downloading pictures. I am sending an email to the HRD Minister requesting abolition of exams for parents. I will draft the letter; my son will email it,” said the exasperated mother.
In the next school I went, the parents were asked to take the examination together. For admission of their child to the I standard, the parents were asked to send 5 SMS, each of 5 lines within 5 minutes to each other.
I asked the parents what happened.
The father replied: “They had a stopwatch ticking from the start. At the end of five minutes we could together send only four messages in which there were eight mistakes. We had failed in the technical part of the test which meant ‘no seat’ for our boy.”
The mother continued: “I had taught him how to count up to 100, add, subtract, paint and show up his little finger, both index and middle fingers whenever he wanted to go to ‘Su Su’ and ‘Che Che’. But their decision was final. We are approaching Aamir Khan to help us out.”
It appears Kapil Sibalji will have to abolish the system of examination and tests from nursery school level itself, mainly for parents!
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