Skip to main content

Govt of India 'overlooks' option for open book examination in new education policy

By NS Venkataraman*

When I was a student of Annamalai University (Tamil Nadu) several years back, Dr CP Ramaswami Iyer (Dr CP) was the vice chancellor. It has been well recognized, then and now, that Dr CP was one of the brilliant educationists, scholars and administrators.
When Dr CP was the Vice Chancellor for the second time in 1960s, he used to be present in the campus for around ten days every month. When he would be in the campus, he used to address several meetings of students and staff on various subjects in Shastri Hall and Gokhale Hall.
Then, the halls were not full but with the participants who were well aware of the eminence of Dr CP and were eager to hear his speech. Many used to carry note pad and pen to write down the highlights of his speech. I was one of them.
Of the variety of topics that Dr CP used to cover in his speeches, there were many occasions when he stressed on the need and importance of reforming the educational system and testing methodology of the knowledge level of the students.
He decried the prevailing pattern of examination, where students are closeted in a hall, question papers given just at the beginning of examination along with blank answer sheets and at the end of the stipulated examination time, the students would hand over the answer sheets and move away from the hall.
Then, an unknown teacher would evaluate the answer sheets and provide grades and marks based on the answers provided, with little knowledge about the background and capability of the student.
Dr CP was of the view that the prevailing system of examination was flawed and was doing immense harm to the future of the students , by not evaluating them suitably and adequately.
Dr CP used to regret that in this traditional examination system, students were expected to provide set of answers as they have learnt from the text books without any scope for original thinking.
In other words, if the student would not provide the answers that are taught to them from the prescribed text book, the student would get poor marks. If the student would apply his innovative skill and come out with fresh and innovative ideas, it would not be encouraged or credits provided, as the student would have strayed away from the prescribed and accepted examination path.
Dr CP advocated that at least in the case of courses for higher studies and competitive examinations for job selection, an open book examination system would be the ideal method for assessing the capability of the students.
In the traditional examination system, students are expected to provide set of answers as they have learnt from text books without any scope for original thinking
Dr CP suggested that student should be allowed to take any notes or books that they want to the examination hall and the questions should not be routine or predictable, though the question should be within the overall syllabi for the course. The question should be directed in a way that the student would have to apply his/her mind, instead of reproducing the memorized lessons in a routine way. 
Today, what student gets in the classes is the one person education given by one person namely the teacher and given to the students for getting academic qualification and marks. The education is not oriented towards knowledge for the sake of knowledge but for success in the examination. Marks obtained by the students has become the be all and end all for assessing the merits or demerits of the students.
Dr CP even went on to the extent of saying that setting such question paper for students in the open examination system is a challenge for the teachers as well. They need to exercise their thoughts very carefully and keep an open and interested mindset in evaluating such answer sheets from the students, who undergo the open book examination system.
Of course, this suggestion cannot be blindly applied to education at all level in today’s context , where the concept of reservation for admission in educational institutions and job selection have come to stay.
In today’s context, this suggestion should be considered for NEET examination and for selection of candidates for All India Services.
It is high time that educational experts in the country should introspect about this great suggestion of Dr CP and try to implement the idea, at least in an experimental way to start with.
With the Government of India evolving new education policy which is now discussed all over India by cross section of people, it is strange that the open book examination system has not even been thought about or mentioned.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna By Our Representative  The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ease of doing business? Govt of India seeks legal cover to 'divert' forest land

By Gopinath Majhi*  The proposed amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) vide ‘Consultation Paper on Proposed amendments in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980’ (F No FC-11/61/2021-FC dated October 2, 2021) must be dropped by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC). 

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.