Friday, June 26, 2009

Kapil Sibal's Education Plan - A Feel Good Plan



I read our HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal's plan of abolishing Tenth std. Board exams. in Times of India

I like his plan of just grading and no marks. And abandoning of Tenth std. exams too. Students and parents alike, are undergoing so much strain. At least, here, in Chennai, all the schools have 11th and 12th in school itself, but in Bangalore, they are naming it as Junior College and so the pressure becomes more because the students have to shift from school to Junior college. Changing schools means, changing friends, atmosphere of the school, teachers, routine, everything. Again pressure for the children. So 10th Std. Board Exam marks become too important, over there.

My children studied in a school where they did not have exams till 5th Std. and no homework too. Then the pressure started from 6th std. Some children had problems, coping up with the monthly tests, exams and getting good marks. Most of the children settled with this type, within months. They had time to get used to it, till they had their 10th std. Board exams. So exams from 6th std. is good, I feel.

Children who have good grasping power, naturally, study without much pressure from the teachers or parents. But for children who are playful, and whose concentration is a bit less, need the pushing. Otherwise, the slow-learning students will not be able to perform well. I too was sitting with my children from 6 pm to 8 pm to see that they finished their homework without fighting or chatting (!) till around 5th/6th std. Then, left them alone. My dog Andy also was sitting with them, pulling their pencils often - distracting them, to seek attention! He was getting bored! All of us used to sit on a mattress, with small desks for the children to write.

I liked Sibal's plan to bring a common syllabus, throughout India. At present, we have CBSE, State Board, ICSE, Anglo-Indian syllabus, as far as I know. They do not relate to each other at all. People look down at the State syllabus students. The cut-off marks also vary for the different syllabi (correct?!), during the entrance exams for professional colleges.

Nowadays, here in India, even 94-95% in 12 th Std. Board exam, is not enough to get a free seat in a good professional college. I feel sorry for the children of today. It is high time we allow the children to take art, science subjects, interior decoration, nutrition for getting a degree. They can always do masters in the same subject. I say 'allow' because, most of us want our children to be doctors or engineers. Without giving any pressure, my children went to engineering colleges, as if it is a natural thing to do! During their 12th std. they attended some IIT-JEE coaching classes. I see that the competition is getting worse, day by day.

Kapil Sibal's plan of abandoning 10the std. Board Exams, might bring some relief to the children, till they reach 11th Std. The coaching can start then for the next year's exam.

Nowadays, the coaching classes for IIT-JEE, has started from 5th std. it seems! I know about a child who started going to this class from 8th Std. The children go to the tuition classes for the current year and then to go to the coaching classes also. By the time they reach 12 std. they will feel sick at the sight of their books, I am sure.

Let us be positive in our thinking and just be happy that now we have got a Minister, who plans to do some good, for the future citizens. If his plans works out, he will be the best Minister, whom everyone will praise, I am sure!

13 comments :

Varunavi said...

Very well said sandhya :)

My mom never sat with us or forced us to study.I dont remember her telling us to study or stop watching tv.

In my school i did till 12th but once in graduation i took much time to get adjusted in the college.

My dog Andy also was sitting with them, pulling their pencils often - distracting them, to seek attention! He was getting bored--- so sweet poor andy :)

My cousin has joined his son in class 8th where emcet (entrance exam for medicine and engineering) coaching is given in the evening after school because he wants his son to become a doctor,my mom asked him if everyone becomes a doctor and an engineer who will study other faculties ?

wordsndreamz said...

' liked Sibal's plan to bring a common syllabus, throughout India. At present, we have CBSE, State Board, ICSE, Anglo-Indian syllabus, as far as I know. They do not relate to each other at all. People look down at the State syllabus students. The cut-off marks also vary for the different syllabi (correct?!), during the entrance exams for professional colleges. '

Exactly! I think a uniform syllabus is the way to go forward. Right now, we have so many different syllabi + each state having it's own syllabus ..Its too chaotic.

'Nowadays, the coaching classes for IIT-JEE, has started from 5th std. it seems! I know about a child who started going to this class from 8th Std. The children go to the tuition classes for the current year and then to go to the coaching classes also. By the time they reach 12 std. they will feel sick at the sight of their books, I am sure.'

I am not sure if at std 5 - the child is even aware of the IITs leave alone make a decision to try and get in there! In cases like this - it is the parents dictating what the child has to do. One of my friends had such a bad time, convincing his parents in Class 10 that he wanted to major in English and not get into Engg. He had to fight a lot. He finally got his way and did brilliantly too - but at that time - it was very difficult for him as his parents were just not willing to listen. If this coaching from 5th std had been there - I am sure his parents would have enrolled him and then he would not even be able to back off and change streams - because valuable money had already been spent on his IIT coaching.

I was happy to hear Kapil Sibal's statements! It made me hope!

And I loved this post! I don't know why you think mine was clear - I think yours is so very objective! Loved it!

mesoliloquy said...

Sandhya, I think in Kerala it is already grade system. I like it too. I get scared seeing the number of training schools and tuition centres everywhere.

Kids don't even have time to play. I ahve heard parents saying oh! let them study now...they can play later. When? I mean when is later? They study whole life, then professional college then job. When will they play?

Why are some parents so hell bent on joining the rat race? We can't blame them either because that is how everyone is so no one wants to be left behind.

I hope there is some good change in our education system. I don't know though.

hitchwriter said...

I wouldnt know how and what is the best way to educate... !!

for me its all play and no studies... !

indyeahforever said...

I love KApil' Sibal's proposal too Sandhya :)

I liked Sibal's plan to bring a common syllabus, throughout India. At present, we have CBSE, State Board, ICSE, Anglo-Indian syllabus, as far as I know. They do not relate to each other at all. People look down at the State syllabus students. The cut-off marks also vary for the different syllabi (correct?!), during the entrance exams for professional colleges.
This is SO true...

and this is also why I liked this plan..
BUt I am very apprehensive Sandhya..
it seems to be more of a populist measure to me than anything else...because considering he state our present education system is in..it seems as if we are taking on something huge without even understanding the ramifications ...

I do pray that this measure yields positive results

will try to write a post sometime in the future...


Let us be positive in our thinking and just be happy that now we have got a Minister, who plans to do some good, for the future citizens. If his plans works out, he will be the best Minister, whom everyone will praise, I am sure!
this is what I ABSOLUTELY LOVE about you Sandhya:))
your positivity in any situation :))))
((((hugs))))))))))

kavita said...

SANDHYA....as far as i am concerned i fully welcome this great idea...i hope this good cause is not lost in petty politics. i congratulate you for writing on such an important current issue here.

kanagu said...

its one of the best thing said.. and if its implemented many will be benefited... no pressure for students to get the highest mark.. or for parents to push them for marks.. and most importantly the tuition culture will get eradicated :)

I hate them... no pressure.. many will perform better and I liked the idea of common syllabus :)

Sandhya said...

varunavi: My mom had five children (!), where will she have time to sit with the children?! All of us are doing OK!

Yes, it is difficult to adjust to the new environment, Saritha, whether we are children or adults.

Andy was the King of our home!

Dreaming about our children is OK. But compelling them to do it, is not good. My children did not go into IIT. But like so many other children who studied in normal colleges, they are also doing well.

wordsndreamz: Coaching classes starting from 8th itself is sickening. These classes are just for making money. The boy, whom I quoted, was always tired and his timepass was just sleeping. Never even watched TV's musical programmes, which he used to like very much.

I had prepared a draft in a hurry, since I was leaving for Bangalore that day. After reading your post on these lines, I wanted to write my opinion also. You gave a boost to my thinking, Smitha. I added one or two points later! Thank you.

Sandhya said...

Solilo: I remember my sons' Principal's saying, when I asked him to send the children home by 5 pm at least, for doing homework and study (my younger son used to play cricket, football, anything and everything in the school and come home around 6 pm!) - 'this is the age for them to play too. Can you and I play at this age, if we want to?!'

Every household has got one or two children now and the parents want them to be professionally qualified. My grand niece is going to get the Engineering degree next year and is thinking of pursuing music, but a degree is a must, her parents told her!

hitchwriter: It is not so easy for today's children, Dhiren.

Sandhya said...

indyeah: Yes, even I feel so. His proposals look rosy, rosy now. How they are going to implement...we will wait and see. The changing of syllabus has to start from 1st Std. or 6th std. It will take time to show the result.

You are the right person to give suggestions, for this plan, Indyeah.

I felt happy again after reading that Nilekani is given a cabinet Minister's position for taking up Citizen's ID card project. Like Sam Pitroda did something good for telecom, Nilekani might be the right person to handle this project, which might reduce frauds in every sphere, in our country. Our Indians are famous for their intelligence. Now some people are thinking of using them for our own good, instead of others/outsiders, using them! Thanks and 'hugs' to you too, Indyeah. Your opinions matter a lot to me.

kavita: Hope no intruder/politician, is going to contaminate this project, kavita.

kanagu: That is the reason why I felt elated, when I read about Kapil's plan to bring in, grading system. I feel very sad when I see the small children going to tuitions with their heavy bags, after coming back from school, or straight from school.

Yes, the common syllabus, is THE best, method, kanagu.

Shilpa said...

Sandhya,

I think this is a populist move. I agree with common syllabus and grading system but I am not very sure that abolishing board exams at 10 would really help the children. That way you can argue that children get stressed out at class 12 as well. There is no end to such arguments.

What I'd rather like is to see reforms in the kind of exams held - more practical than theory, more application oriented exams where by-hearting wont help.

I agree that the tuition classes are having a field day now but that wouldnt change by abolishing one exam. The change has to come in the way we teach our children and our view of the examinations.

Besides the joy of writing exams is something else. Kids are going to miss out so much on bonding over Q papers, notes and combined studies.

Shilpa said...

And as far as pressure on parents are concerned, thats a problem the parents need to handle. A change in thier mindset is needed if they think thier child's intelligence is decided by the board exams.

Sandhya said...

Shilpa: Yes, the thrill of pouring over Q papers, combined studies etc. are unforgettable memories for me too. But now, children are expected to score above 95%, because the competition has become so high in standard. Children should work hard and get good marks, but each and every child is expected to come first in the class, nowadays. With grading system, this much stress will come down.

As you say, 10th Board exam might help to prepare them for the 12th Board. I still feel that marking system should start from 6th std. The children will know to plan and study and get good marks. I hate the Junior College system of Bangalore.

Your opinion about the parents getting stressed, is right. They should not be behind the children, each and every day and pester them to study and get good marks.

I liked all your points here, Shilpa.

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