Indira Balaji
Indira Balaji indira.b@thehindu.co.in

Dreamt of a wordsmithing career at age 10. Is pleasantly surprised that it came true.

Indira Balaji

Some plain vanilla academics, please

| Updated on October 14, 2013 Published on October 14, 2013

If the race earlier was to score 90 plus, now it is to score A1.

Way back when I was in school, some time during the Bronze Age, perhaps, there was one constant refrain for me and my friends during the holidays – Oh my God! Results will be out next week! As reopening day drew closer, the fear behind the words grew deeper.

Now, when I hear my daughter chatting with her friends, I hear the very same words conveying the very same fear. This makes me think that CBSE’s Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system, introduced a few years ago, hasn’t been much of a success. If the system was meant to teach more and stress the children less, it’s not achieving its purpose.

The way I see it, my child is forever either doing projects or preparing for tests or exams. The projects are hardly innovative and the tests and exams are about as monotonous and superficial as their pre-CCE versions. Wait! Tests and exams are now passé. They are called formative and summative assessments, respectively. But scratch the names and it’s good old rote learning all over again.

The grade system beats me. How exactly is it superior to the mark system? How is it expected to reduce the pressure on the student? If the race earlier was to score 90 plus, now it is to score A1. A child who scores 89 is in the same bracket as one who scores 81. This is fine but the child is on an altogether different planet from one who scores 91. How fair is that?

Another aspect of CCE that’s downright cruel is the system of evaluating the child on the basis of his/her behaviour. Encouraging good behaviour is a nice thing to do. Linking behaviour to grades isn’t. Allowing a child to be himself in school, amid his teachers and friends, is very important to his development. Using grades to force him into good behaviour hardly serves the purpose.

CBSE certainly had lofty ideals when it came up with the programme. Unfortunately, the implementation is missing these by many a mile.

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Published on October 14, 2013
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