March 09, 2011

Anxieties of my Exam Fever

           Now, I'm travelling by train to office in Trivandrum. It's the time for the dark to vanish slowly. Lot of thoughts flashes by as usual, this is the case on all Monday mornings and this morning is not an exception. And my mind started thinking of the Friday night to come back to home town again. Home town is just 2 hours journey from the office.
           From my childhood to college days, I was crazy about TV, I won't miss any of the TV shows. But now, everything has turned upside down. No time to sit in front of the TV and even if I sit no interest for me to watch. The only program which I'm watching without fail is 'Neeya Naana' (You or Me) a talk show. This program is now being telecasted in Star Vijay (Tamil Channel) at 21:00 hrs every sunday which comes as a power packed talk show for most of us. Star Vijay always comes with its innovative trend setting shows and 'Neeya Naana' is one of its kind.

          The unique feature of this talk show is two sets of people sit face to face and they'll discuss a topic. The talk show is wisely carried by 'Gopinath' (anchor) who captivates the people with his speech. Sometimes the topics selected by them may sound foolish but the knowledge that it gives is quite unbelievable.

          Yesterday, the talk show was discussing about the 'Pressures faced by the students who are doing public exams'. The discussion almost quenched all my anxieties on the public exams when I was writing those exams. I'm about to share some of them with you.

          The debate started with a simple question "What is examination? Why examination is being conducted?", this question is asked to the teachers and parents and these are the answers from teachers and parents.

          - Improves self confidence
          - Teaches them the responsibility
          - Evaluates the person
          - A major benchmark in all the countries.

          Next, Gopinath asked the students "What are the changes made in the student’s home, to prepare for the public exams?"
Students came from all the parts of Tamil Nadu to participate in the debate. Some them were very anxious to answer to this question raised by Gopinath. These are the complaints made by the students

          - No extra curriculur activities
          - No computer
          - No TV
          - No Landline
          - No Mobile
          - No Bike
          - No Sleep
          - No Celebrations
          - No Outing, etc.

Now-a-days parents are equating the time taken for studying with their performance which is a myth.

          Parents replied, why they're making these changes to home during public exams

          - to avoid diversion or distraction
          - to concentrate on the studies
          - to avoid wasting time
          - to settle in life and to set a good carrier

S Jasmine of Tirunelveli who bagged the state first rank in the SSLC examinations with a score of 495 out of 500, talked about how she got the state first, some of them are below

          - She had taken studies as a play
          - She had written tamil cinema songs to improve her hand writing
          - No stress was given by the teachers, society and from her parents
          - She did group study
          - She studied in a government school
          - She started studing the 10th syllabus only after the school of the 10th std started

          Every week special guests (experts in those topics) will come to the show who express their views. This week two guests came one is Aisha Natarajan, Writer and Udaya Chandran, IAS Officer.

The views expressed by Natarajan, Writer,

          In India, nearly 40,000 exams are being conducted each year. But still, 10th and 12th public exams are the most toughest exams. The reason is media, society, teachers and parents. Best example is if a single question physics exam is wrong or so and so, this is made as an issue in media.
          Many funny things happen, during public exams parents will be on leave to take care of the son/daughter to study well. All the members in the family watches the student and says "Tambi Tension Aagathappa" ("Don't be tensed").

          What parents are proposing is "Tanittiru, Pasittiru and Vizhittiru", (Be Isolated, Be Hungry and Be Alert). A child is very active and parents are sending to school and what teachers say "Kaiya kattu, Vaaya pottu" ("Fold your hands and keep quiet"), there the child's activeness is restricted. He said, that this age is a gang age for the students who are writing public exams. We shouldn't isolate them. We should make them to play.

          The examination system now is completely based on memory, the student who mugs up a lot will score more marks. In Tamil papers the students have to memorise the kurals (stanza) from the Thirukural and they have to write it without any error. It is even impossible for the Thiruvalluvar to write those kurals without any error.

          Still the myth continues that marks are everything, this concept has to be changed. The exam's importance should be thought to the students and examination pattern should made in such a way that the students should come for the examination with interest.

          Now, the public exams have become a bussiness for many people. Tution centres, psychological doctors giving tips to reduce the tension faced by students and media conducting programs to make the students score more.

          There is a man named Zeno from South Africa what he says is, student A studies 50 questions, student B studies 150 questions, and student C studies 500 questions. The exam is an objective type question. 30 questions came for the exam, all the 30 questions are known for  student A, 15 questions are known for student B and 25 questions are known for student C. This is the real story of the marks scored by students A, B and C.

          The student is studying for 14 years and he/she is judged with just the final public exam questions, which is with contradiction with the  Zeno's experiment.

The views expressed by Udaya Chandran, IAS,

          The 12th exam is given more priority because of the two reasons, first it is the final accessment of the schoolings, second it is the gate for the future. The pressure is divided and given to the students by media, parents and teachers.

          He said, "Madipengal Vazhkayai Maatruvadhillai" (Marks don't change the life) and he repeated it a couple of times. Marks are just the address and door number he added. He said, when he was preparing for the IAS exams in 1994, he watched WorldCup Football while preparing.
          He said, Success usually stick to the persons, those who choose their favourite field of interest as their profession, hard work and their satisfaction with their profession.

          The studies mainly fall into 2 categories theory oriented and knowledge oriented. Our examination pattern comes in line with the former one and it is theory oriented, mark oriented and teacher sponspored notes oriented.

          Now-a-days parents are insisting their unachieved dreams to their children. So, they are giving even more pressure to their children. Also, in the past decade, for the middle classes the professional education is possible.

          Developing country like India needs citizens with more analytical thinking this is possible only by active based studies. A debate is much needed to make reforms in our education systems, question setting methodology and exam patterns.

          Thanks for reading my blog and leave your comments about this below.

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