Mumbai: It’s not homework but examinations and the accompanying anxiety which causes students immense stress, starting at an early age, parents have said. Instead of eliminating homework, parents claim, the authorities should reduce the number of theory exams and, instead, make it activity-based.
A recent directive of the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has advised schools across the country to adopt a ‘no homework’ policy for students of Classes 1 and 2, as it stresses out students. But parents feel, instead of homework, the state should change its examination policy, as it puts a lot pressure on students.
Currently, exams test a student’s memory, making them put down everything they have learnt by rote in the answer paper. But not every student has a good memory or can remember everything he or she reads. This method compels students to learn lessons by heart and remember everything, instead of understanding concepts.
Parents say they have witnessed their children undergoing stress during exams but once exams are over, kids tend to forget what they have learnt. Says a parent, Mithila Sharma, “My son spent hours studying for his final examination and changed his entire daily schedule for three months. But shortly after the exams, he could not recall most of what he had studied. So how did all those hours of studying enhance his knowledge?”
Homework is preferable to exams, claim students, as it helps them practise what they have learnt, instead of having to attempt a test or examination. Jignesh Gour, a Class 5 student said, “When we do our homework, we actually practise what we have studied and automatically learn it. But during tests, we try to remember multiple lessons in a short span of time and then once the tests are done, there is no repetition of the lessons.”
Teachers claim they are trying to be creative and innovative in terms of homework, to help students. Avinash Mane, a teacher said, “We give homework in terms of drawing, painting or reciting mathematical tables. Students like to do homework which is creative and interesting. This helps them learn better and perform well. On the other hand, examinations scare students, where they just have to write long theory answers without any creativity or art.”
If tests and exams were based on practical applications of concepts with a creative approach, students would actually be interested. Tanishka Roy, a student, said, “If we have questions which make us think and answer in a practical way, it would be helpful. It will develop an interest within us and give us a chance to express our thought processes and perspective on concepts. But right now, it is mere rote learning, where we refer to multiple books and mug up answers.”