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Yashpal Committee on Examination System in India

In 2009, MHRD set up a Committee on Higher Education (Yashpal Committee) with Pal as the chairman, for examining reform of higher education in India. In its report, the Committee laid emphasis on the idea of a university, and advocated a number of major structural changes.

The major, well understood defect of the examination system is that it focuses on children’s ability to reproduce information to the exclusion of the ability to apply concepts and information on unfamiliar, new problems or simply to think. Both the teachers and the parents constantly reinforce the fear of examination and the need to prepare for it by memorising a whole lot of information from the textbook and guide books. This sort of perception about the examination makes things difficult for children.

Majority of our school going children view learning at school as a boring, even unpleasant and bitter experience. The limited purpose of preparing for examination is indeed a very important factor for the unpleasantness of learning. The child centred education and activity based teaching learning method are talked about but are seldom practised in our school.

In regard to the burden on children, the gravitational load of the school bag has been discussed widely in media, even in Parliament. After this study I and most of my colleagues on the committee convinced that the more pernicious burden is that of noncomprehension. In fact the mechanical load on many of our students in Government and Municipal schools may not be too heavy, but the load of non- comprehension is equally cruel. In fact, the suggestion has been made to us that a significant fraction of children who drop out may be those who refuse to compromise with non-comprehension- they are potentially superior to those who just memorise and do well in examination, without comprehending very much! I personally do believe that “very little, fully comprehended, is far better than a great deal, poorly comprehended”

National tests like the GRE must be organised round the year. Students from all over India must be allowed to take the tests as many times as they like and their best score can be sent to the universities for admission. Currently the CBSE and the State Board exams are a means of normalising school level competencies – this can be done by the National tests. We must seriously think of reviving our faith in each school and its teachers to credibly evaluate their own students. (p42-43)

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