The present examination system is a strange phenomenon in India. Students at all levels are tested not in the knowledge they have acquired and how well they communicate it to the examiner in their own way.
The examinations, are meant to see how well a student has crammed and how efficiently does he reproduce it in the answer books in the examination hall. If the question in the paper is a bit tilted even an undergraduate student would fumble. ‘He was never taught that question’.
Students complaining like that are a common sight in the examination hall for they have gulped the answers of some expected questions as dictated by their teachers or as available in the guides.
Whether a teenager or even a child goes to a private school, a government school, a convent or even a prestigious institution—a neat and tidy dress and a bag bulging at the back is a common sight throughout the country. Yes! a bag bulging at the back having all the knowledge that the young one requires. May seem funny but the knowledge actually enters his person from the backdoor. He has not to use his intelligence—he has not to understand any thing.
The knowledge enters a certain retentive area of his brain in miniscule. It doesn’t expand—can’t explode in original thinking. The young one depends on his teachers, parents or petty guides throughout his life. He acquires a stifled, stunted personality groping in the dark channels of stereotyped things away from real life situations. Such students become a problem to their parents too.
Teaching and learning is not dictating and cramming. It is rather a healthy process that requires comprehension—retention—communication. Of late, with the increasing knowledge in the world the burden on the children too has increased. But the time (after long school hours) at their disposal is limited. The time in schools is not utilized properly. They come home with enormous amount of home work on topics they have not followed. Naturally they depend on their parents or a teacher engaged for it. As Sridhar Raman puts it “The obvious casualty of all this is of course originality”.
Of late an organization ‘Erehwon’ has come up in Delhi. It is a trans-country organization and has reached the remote South too. Even in Delhi people from the South closely associate themselves with it. After extensive interaction with corporate houses and school children for more than seven years the organization has initiated Continuous Development Plan (CDP). The stress is on self learning and solution-oriented study.
The first thing that CDP does is to build confidence in children. Rajiv Narang heads the Drehwon movement. According to him “The crux of the problem is that we teach ‘content’ without empowering the student with the ‘processes’ and ‘skills’ required to deal with the content.” A Madras student is of the view that as ‘the children access knowledge through real-life situation’ they can interlink the two.
The method adopted by the initiators of the scheme is rather unorthodox. In the first stage they rather let the child take responsibility for his failure. The child is exposed to the situation that he tries to find solutions himself; and doesn’t complain or go to parents and teachers. In the second stage the programme is so moulded as to let the boy comprehend and understand. He manages to reduce knowledge to units that he can manage. The third stage comprises of stimulating the natural gifts of the child—the sense of wonder, curiosity and approach.
All children have their own original way of doing things. Just touch it and it will come up making learning a fun and not a cumbersome task.