The Indian educational system has always been wandering over boulder rocks rather than cruising or ambling on a boulevard. Though it has been a topic pretentious enough to necessitate first rate importance, yet politics just glances over it and thwarts the very dream of taking India forward. It is as serious a topic to be taken under the fundamental rights but even a deluge of reforms have deluded it from its way. And just when it seemed to convalesce, its basic implant has been axed as if for recreation.
The conscientious congress in its very innovative ways seemed to press yet another controversial paddle in its educational reforms. The ministry of Human Resource and Development, headed by Mr.Kapil Sibal announced his 100 day plan enshrining the clause that 10th boards will be made optional in schools affiliated to CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education). He said that the board will introduce grading system on its behalf and will give due weightage to internal assessments for promotion to class 11th. Reasoning his policy he exclaimed that the step would ‘de-traumatize’ the students and their parents and prevent suicidal attempts in future.
Mr. Sibal’s attempt can be acknowledged as a shift from the Indian trends to the western trends. It’s very scrupulous of him to think sensibly of something different, yet copying the west in matters pertaining to education can make the development process of India an uphill task. With the Indian population topping the charts of the world, board results have always been benchmark in performance criteria. According to the signaling theory of economics, the caliber and merit of a person are evaluated on the pitfalls of their academic career, especially board results. Take an example of admission into B- schools of the world. A student’s admission is also entrusted to his board results. With such disparities in boards stretching as far as making class 10th optional, it will work as a disadvantage for CBSE students. All those aspiring to go for higher education would obviously be opting for other centralized boards.
Moreover the ministry’s decision is quite baffling. Its soul reason to take this step is to relieve all stress and change the mindset of the students but it fails to understand that by doing so it has actually enhanced their stress in 12th. Students will have just one chance of making their school life count and hence it adds to the pressure.
The other most debated about amendment was the establishment of an all India Madrassa Board .The step gives legal privilege to the Madrassa to make itself an autonomous body and govern its students all over India. It’s good in the sense that Islamic people who whole heartedly devoted their life to religion will get traditional learning with some technical understanding as well and enhance their knowledge arena.
The congress has definitely upheld its secular character and explained it with such a bold act. But in retrospect it is strengthening its Muslim vote bank as it has always done. In both senses it’s an absolutely logical step taken by them. It was the only way that these minority institutions could be imparted with technical skills but the long lasting motive of keeping up its secular ideals is also not lost. It was a clean strike!
Indian politics is still in a daze. Why isn’t it seeing through the loopholes of our widespread problems? There are more than 40 boards in the country including the state boards. But do we really need them? A single centralized board is the ideal road to solving this puzzle. The scenario presently is just too partial towards some and too impartial towards others. This is ‘traumatizing’ the students and not class 10th. As it is, the students are just mugging up their courses and with this act the situation will not better. It will in fact become worse when people will take their promotion for granted. The government should use bifocals to focus at two distinct things .First, on the infrastructure of government schools because its functionality is under a lot of speculation and then on the curbing of the supremacy of private schools which are just sipping money off parents. Moreover, the government feels ashamed to talk about sex education, which is atrocious. And what follows is an MMS scandal in school!
And does the all India Madrassa Board justify our secular nature? In a secular state, all individuals are free to practice any religion but here they are given a legal right to follow it. This will not be digested well in the society and especially when the people will get vigilant about the fact that our taxes are being funded to run these institutions. The government should rather run a strategy as is followed in Europe and the Middle- East where Islamic students are provisioned to go for both higher universities and Madrassas.
Only time can tell whether our educational reforms have made us climb a ladder or have we been bitten by a snake!
[Image courtesy: http://german-info.com/images/press_images/schavan-sibal-storypic.jpg]