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Should board exams in class 5 and 8 be re-introduced?

Five years back, the Congress led government brought a noteworthy change in the prevalent education system by scrapping board examination for primary and middle class students. They also replaced the marking system with grading and ordered that no children can be failed or denied promotion to the next class till class 8.

The new government under Modi has received requests for reviewing this system and HRD Ministry has been asked to bring back the old system where passing board exams in class 5 and 8 was mandatory for students to move forth to the next class.

Punjab government has requested Centre to allow the re-introduction of the board examination as it prevailed before five years. It is more likely that the board exams for primary and middle class students will be brought back, with effect from the next session. This system was done away for a reason and there is no lack of parents and prominent educationalists fighting in support of the existing system.
Should board exams in class 5 and 8 be re-introduced?
 1. Constant evaluation:

With the changes in the education system to grades instead of marks and no failing of students till class 8 evaluation of the student becomes very difficult.

Even if the student is weak and lagging behind, the teacher doesn’t get to evaluate the efforts and performance of student because that would then be called judging or trying to lower their self-esteem.

Boards in 5th and 8th standard would allow evaluation and aptitude of student so that parents get to know the strength and weakness of their ward based on their performance in different subjects.

2. Improves stamina: Facing boards is as dreadful and as improvising as it could get. Students work harder when there is an upcoming board exam which they will have to face and their further promotion will depend on that. Hard work and dedication in youngsters is known to increase stamina.

They will be more competitive and increase their learning skills to be able to do better than the other students which is healthy competition and much needed at regular intervals.

3. Motivational: Exams are seen as stressful and burdensome but we must also not ignore the fact that exams are motivational for students. They are motivated to study harder when there is a test coming up that would determine their promotion to the higher class.

Parents would also pay more heed towards the academic performance of their ward and motivate them to be better prepared.

4. Future plans: Testing the aptitude of students is very important in helping them recognize their interest, potential and special talent. A child may be exceptionally good in geography or physics but that cannot be known unless they are tested. The grading system doesn’t provide exact marks of each students which is why parents and student do not seem to know where does the exceptional skill of a child lie.

5. Practice: Before facing the main boards of 10th and 12th standard, primary and middle class board examinations would provide a good practice of facing board exams for students.

The anticipation of new pattern and markings create more stress in students than any other aspect of exams. Board exams in class 5 and 8 would lessen the fear and students will be better prepared to face exams.

6. Less burden: All the changes in the examination system was done in order to lessen the burden on students but that doesn’t seem to be completely true. More number of students have started taking semester exams less seriously and hence they are faced with the dread of boards in class 10 or 8 when failing and passing starts to matter. Most youngsters are known to study hard only during exams which seems to have lost its cause after the changes made 5 years back.

Against:

1. Age to enjoy life: Dread of facing exams and that too board exams is too big to be burdened on minor children with innocent minds wherein no rivalry or race dwells.

The age of innocence is trampled against the burden and stress of passing exams with distinction in order to stay high amid friends and family. The unnecessary stress is all about preventing them from having a free and happy childhood.

2. Constant judging: Children should not be judged based on their performance in exams. Not every child can be a mathematics genius. The stereotype of students being good in academics based on their sole performance in a few subjects in exams has to be removed.

They can be a future artist or a sportsperson or an air force personnel. This constant judging and evaluating is bad for their self-confidence.

3. Fear of failure: Exams bring in fear – fear of being judged, fear of being criticized, fear of being the last of the lot, the fear of failure. Fear keeps us back. Whoever said that fear and pressure is necessary for good performance is talking about adults and not children.

We do not want to pressurize our children to stand at the top. We want to inspire them to be want they want to be – anything that captures their imaginative little mind.

4. Low self-esteem: Red lines in report card, poor marks in some subjects, an average performance is not something that should bother a 5th standard student too much but the exact opposite happens when they are criticized by everyone.

Lowered self-esteem is further detrimental for their performance. They lose confidence in their abilities to do well in life.

Bullying students and ragging puts enormous stress on young minds

Conclusion:

The grading system and no board exams till 10th is good for the overall development of students. But the problem arising is also no less crucial. By the time a student reaches class 8, they are clueless about their aptitude.

Promoted students without good marks have to face the final dread when the report card of promotion comes to effect.

The education ministry must take a step to overcome this problem by bringing in more unit tests but re-introducing board exams in class 5 and 8 seems to be an extreme measure that is good for students. More board exams would only mean more stress to students at a tender age.

Class 10 and 12 is the right time when boards should be meted out to youngsters. Anywhere before that is too early an evaluation of aptitude.

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