Playing with a student’s future!

I remember my class 12th economics board paper. Not really bright at the subject, I was bubbling with smiles and thought to myself “If the evaluator is not too strict I might even score a 90!” when the paper was over. When the results came out I was quite shocked to see that I got a 55! Not even the sure shot minimum 80 that I expected! But then, not being someone who is obsessed with marks I let it be and consoled myself because our topper who never scored less than 95 scored 70 something. In fact most of the people in our batch from a few other schools did not do as well as they were expecting.

We concluded it could be because of the short answers we wrote, but not once did it strike us that we should have written really long answers, which a lot of economics teachers like, I guess. Now with the board results just announced, I was discussing them with, of all people,  my uncle. And it so happened that we started talking about the evaluation process, and I said that it also depended on a student’s luck sometimes, some evaluators are strict, some are lenient. But what I read in today’s newspaper just shocked me.

To put like it was in the paper (the Andhra Pradesh edition of The Hindu):

“An Intermediate final year student, who failed in the examination after he was awarded zero in the economics paper, should now be a relieved lad after he scored 75 marks out of 100 in the same subject when he applied for re-evaluation of the answer sheet.
With the startling variation of marks coming to light, the Board of Intermediate authorities are planning to initiate stringent action against the evaluator – a lecturer of a private college in Kadapa district. Stranger is the explanation of the lecturer that he had awarded zero marks “as he could not understand the answers written in English”, authorities disclosed.”

This was just too much of a shock and to think of the excuse given! Could it be any lamer than that? During the re-evaluation, officials have found four major categories of mistakes on the part of the evaluators. In some cases, some answers were  not evaluated at all; some answers evaluated but marks not given; evaluation was done, marks given, but not added to the total. In the fourth category, the evaluator simply strikes out  the answer and awards ‘zero’ marks. This is criminal! All  four categories of faulty correction! To just give someone a zero and say they could not understand their handwriting. Is this is how neglectful, lazy and irresponsible our evaluators are?

Each year there is so much pressure on the kid to excel, to top, to not just swim but to emerge victorious in the cut throat world of today because a rank could be lost for a mere 0.5 mark, a career option would be lost by a 0.1 percentage.  Every year students slog it out, waking up late at night or getting up early in the morning, to study and do well in their exams, and every year some students commit suicide because they cannot take the pressure! And if something like this happens, I shudder to think how many deaths could have been because an evaluator “forgot” to give him/her marks and the student flunked!

Stringent action should be taken against these wrong doers who are messing up the lives and careers of budding youngsters. Maybe it is just a mundane job for the evaluators but it is the most important thing in a student’s life and they should be made to realize how seriously wrong their actions are. A lot of us are not very  serious and only study the night before the exams, but there are a many more students who put in so much effort and devote themselves to studies in the hope that their hard work will reap results, but now they cannot even be sure of that! Zero to a seventy five… just too much!

Sneha Jaiswal