One major aspect of the many pronouncements on the subject of national education, to which we are treated almost every day, is the all-round criticism of the system of examinations which has taken deep roots in this country.
Students do not think much of the examinations, which they have to go through from time to time. And even the teachers, who think seriously of education, do not believe that examinations are the be-all and end-all of the young people’s preparation for life.
Yet examinations dominate the
educational system and spheres even beyond it. The university degree still fascinates employers of all categories. The Public Service Commissions are a set of examiners for Government jobs; and even private business houses have started giving examinations and tests to those who are taken on their staff.
The fact is that we have not evolved an effective substitute for examinations. The Universities seem to be highly conservative in their views on this important subject and are reluctant to try out new experiments. They appear to prefer the “status quo”, to any undertaking that might prove risky. And the tyranny of the examination system goes on, though it is admittedly one of the unhealthy features of our educational set-up.
But the time for change is near at hand. What it needs is a lead from the Union and State Governments, the Universities and the higher educational institutions in the country. Mild hints regarding such a lead have come from a number of leaders in recent weeks. But the emergence of any tangible change still seems a long way off.
(EDIT, December 8, 1954.)