Marks vs Learning

Marks vs Learning

Shruti is very dejected and angry. While she scored 97 in Physics, she got only 95 in Maths in her 2nd PUC exam. She was sure that she will score a full 100 in Maths. She has been told that even if she asks for re-totalling, they will not change her report unless the difference is more than 6 marks, which in her case is impossible! She has been taking out her frustration on all and sundry.

Marks vs Learning

In the case of Rajiv, the whole family is worked up. No one wants to believe that he has scored only 46 in Chemistry, and they have even been speaking to a lawyer friend to find out if they can sue the PU Board! Christopher had an excellent track record, finishing his 10th with an aggregate of 72%. He even had a first class in his 1st PU. Now he finds that he has failed in 2nd PU because he managed only 20 marks in Biology. He is confused whether to start studying for his Supplementary exams, or to wait for the revaluation that he has applied for. The CET results that are round the corner now become meaningless for him, even though he did so well in it.

There are long queues everywhere for retotalling, photocopies of answer sheets, and revaluation. From those scoring in their nineties, to those who have failed in all subjects, thousands are unhappy with their results, and have the strong feeling that there is something wrong in the evaluation.

The Director of PU Board, Mr. Nayak has gone on record to say that the valuation has been done correctly, and there are no major errors. And yet the number of dissatisfied students this year is perhaps ten times larger than ever before. There is anger, frustration, defiance and a sense of gloom from students and parents alike. They feel that their future has been jeopardized due to wrong marking. More than looking towards deciding the right career at this crucial juncture of their life, thousands of students are stuck in the quagmire of resolving their grades.

While only time can tell how rampant the errors of the PU Board were, this brings our focus to the fact that every single mark seems to have become like the crucial peaks at Kargil that our brave soldiers were trying to defend. Examinations have lost their significance of being stepping stones to further studies, and have become the end-all of a person’s life. And the sad part is that parents seem to be encouraging their children into this type of thinking.

Marks vs Learning

It is already very sad to note that the two year PUC has become an outdated and senseless drilling of students into a wide variety of subjects, many of which they may never use in their practical life. Since first year PU marks are not taken into account, many students relax in their +1, and get back to studies only subsequently. A majority of them do not know till the last minute where their future lies. Many are exploring alternatives as wide as medicine, engineering, law and management. Innumerable students are going in for “professional” courses by paying huge fees, without knowing where they are headed.

It is time for the PUC system to be replaced by a four semester pre-professional course where students can be given insights into life sciences, technology, human behavior, life skills, and most importantly – knowledge of various career options open to them. Till this happens, students will have to go through the meaningless PUC, at times choosing optionals like PCMB “to keep all options open”, or taking up Commerce because “science is too tough, and arts has no scope.” The least that parents can do is to make their children understand that it is the learning that is important, not the marks.

Marks vs Learning

In the words of John Ruskin: Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.

(All names and minor details have been changed to protect the identity of the students)

By Dr. Ali Khwaja

Career Guidance

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