CBSE Class 12th Results 2017: Rot is in our education system

Delhi High Court has asked the board to continue its policy of giving grace marks to students awaiting their Class 12 results.

 |  5-minute read |   24-05-2017
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The Delhi High Court has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to continue its policy of giving grace marks to students who are awaiting their Class 12 results. The board had earlier announced to scrap the moderation policy from this year itself in a decision taken after the 2017 board exams were conducted.

The court decision has come as a relief to lakhs of students whose admissions into various universities, including the Delhi university and other higher education and foreign institutions, were imperilled with the CBSE's sudden decision to do away with the much-decried marks “moderation policy”.

So, what is moderation policy?

The CBSE and other boards compensate students with specified number of grace marks for identified difficult questions. But this addition of grace marks was subject to the condition that following moderation of marks it cannot cross 95 per cent. This resulted in an abnormal rise in the number of students getting 95 per cent marks.

delhi-high-court_052417064908.jpgThe court has asked the CBSE to continue its policy of giving grace marks to students who are awaiting their Class 12 results.

What were the main concerns arising from the moderation policy?

As a result of the policy, some students gained an advantage over others in their board exams. For example, a student who got 87 per cent and his/her marks were moderated to 95 per cent would naturally benefit more than a student who got 94, but his/her moderated marks were only 95.

Similarly, the moderation policy created a race between the boards to put their students at an advantageous position vis-a-vis other boards by giving more grace marks under the moderation policy.

Then why did the Delhi High Court restore the policy for this year?

The board woke up too late in the day and changed the policy after students had already appeared for their board exams and also invested a lot of money on prospective higher education options based on the reasonable assumption of continuation of the policy.

The CBSE's decision to scrap the policy is similar to a situation when the rules of a game are being changed after the game got over. The high court observed that the sudden change will have a “drastic” effect on the students.

Of course, the policy is questionable, but should it go on? Or should we address the ills within the education system instead of doing away with the policy itself?

As far as objections (over boards trying to give an advantage to their students with grace marks) are concerned, that will remain with or without the policy. For instance, the respective boards may simply make the evaluation process less stricter or set questions papers that are easy to ensure higher marks for their students.

Also, by doing away with the policy, the CBSE and other boards would enjoy less freedom to have wide variance in the standard of their question papers. Because in absence of an option to compensate students for difficult questions, boards will be forced to avoid setting tough question papers altogether to steer clear of putting their students in a disadvantageous position.

Also, the moderation policy provided the possibility of addressing inter-board disparity as boards with tougher papers and evaluation policy could use it to ensure that their students were not at a disadvantageous position. Now, unless they change their whole culture of setting tough papers and strict evaluation, they would not be able to ensure fairness to all students.

With or without moderation policy, there are more important areas of concern that have rendered our education system less and less effective.

Most things that we learn in our schools have already become outdated apart from the fact that they are imparted in an uninteresting way, mostly aimed at excelling in exams.

Exams, instead of being an insignificant test of learning, have became the sole object of learning.

The whole outrage over not being able to differentiate between the a student scoring 87 per cent and one scoring 94 per cent exposes how we perceive education.

The aim of education is not to differentiate among students, but our exams do just that. We should understand that this obsession to differentiate is often without basis.

There is practically little difference between a student who scores 87 per cent and one who gets 94 per cent. For all we know, the student scoring 87 may have had been unlucky with the kind of questions that came in exam or his/her state of mind on that particular day.

Also, the current exam system favours the rote-learners more. We are rarely taught to understand or learn what is being imparted. Merely excelling in remembering the details and then presenting it well does the trick.

Even our own education system does not seem to trust these boards much? Why else do IITs, AIIMS, or law schools conduct their own tests instead of relying on the marks given by these boards in the relevant subjects?

The hype and madness created over percentage is also a reflection of our failure to create an education system with wide-based opportunity.

These are just some aspects of our education system that exposes the rot in it.

The faulty moderation policy has just provided us with an opportunity to shed our pretence about these ills in the education system. Let's hope we don't squander this opportunity like the countless ones we have ignored before.

Also read: 5 reasons why bringing back Class 10 Board exams is a terrible idea

Writer

Apoorva Pathak Apoorva Pathak

The author is alumni, IIT Roorkee and writes on politics, economy, policy.

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