Sibal Plans To Scrap Class 10 Board Exams

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In a pathbreaking step towards reforming India’s school education system, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal is considering doing away with the Class 10 Board examination, and setting up an alternative evaluation system based on percentiles, not percentages.

“The Indian education system which is marks-centered and examination-based is a source of trauma for both parents and children… knowledge, like everything else, should be user-friendly, and the acquisition of knowledge should not be a stressful exercise,” said Sibal

Children, Sibal said, should not be judged by percentages with an emphasis on learning by rote, and the whole system of examinations should be looked at afresh.

“I am thinking of relooking at the necessity of having a Board examination for Class 10,” he said.

“A child moves up from Class 9 to Class 10 in the same school and there is no reason for either the student or the parents to get traumatised by the 10th Board exam,” he said.

As a first step, the HRD Ministry will consult state governments and state education boards, Sibal said. “I hope to move forward very soon and set up an alternative system of evaluation of students that is based on percentiles rather than percentages.”

The minister believes that it is for the students to decide which stream to follow in Class 11 rather than for the schools to force it on them. “Ultimately, it is the student’s aptitude that should decide whether he or she wants to study arts or science… not the school,” he said.

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37 Comments

  1. Angels and Belds said:

    btw – the other significant move today is Nilekani taking over the national identity card project. Absolutely awesome step. Congress is slowly taking a stranglehold on the Indian middle class imo.

  2. Tango said:

    Yes both will be awesome decisions/

    They should have already done away with absolute system of marking and gone for grading long back.

    Anoter plan that Sibbal has that I agree with is to have asingle national board of exams as each board has its own system of marking, some are liberal and some are strict, so a student who gets 85% under board A may actually be wortrh 90% in board B for no fault of his.

    Being in the field of education I experience these things first hand, where a student with aa lesser percentage fares better than one who has more.

  3. rks said:

    I am big supporter of Indian education system. It may not cater to all but it gives a system where you can judge majority of students uniformly (fairly). What is the harm of learning by repeatition? As I have said previously, all of us are not talented or sagacious enough to invent new things or find what is good for you.

    I believe, it is social and cultural part of our society which put more pressure of students to go do an MBA or engineering than try other streams (Parents overestimating their kids capabilities), is the root cause of problems.

    “The minister believes that it is for the students to decide which stream to follow in Class 11 rather than for the schools to force it on them.”
    hmm..Here is States students are clueless what they want to study and choose subject from wide field just to try and see what they like. And after two years they still don’t know what they like. Moreover I don’t think most of the students at age 15 or 16 are capable what is good for them; Parents do, but they mostly overestimate.

    ps: In nutshell, look at US education system where students are given choice and how messed up they come out after completing 12th equivalent. I think our system is fine with some modifications.
    ps2: People who complain that students are burdened with lot of work….I say life is hard, you are getting prepared for life ahead. Please learn to work hard.

  4. Aarohi said:

    I think the education system needs a overhaul. Although it does the job as far as the people with access are concerned, it fails miserably to address people who don’t have access due to various reasons. The situation in state boards is pathetic (NDTV was reporting a few minutes ago that more than 15 lakhs students failed in 10th standard in UP and MP boards). Plus there is the matter of making the students studying in non-top tier colleges more employable and I think it is directly linked with the kind of students coming in from the schools. On a related note, students with close to 90 % marks are finding it difficult to get admissions in good colleges.

    Nilekani’s appointment is a welcome development.

  5. Akshay said:

    On the contrary I think the overall Indian education system needs overhaul and in my opinion the whole education system is designed to make us mediocre individuals.

    There is no focus on excellence and the entire concept is based around %. What we are producing is mediocre individuals who are very good at working under someone, following instructions, and we seldom have people who think-out-of-the-box, are unconventional, bring in new innovation to this planet and genuinely think of making a difference.

    In my opinion, the root cause is education, so its a welcome move by Mr Sibbal to start thinking on those lines. A lot needs to be done here.

  6. Tango said:

    “Why dumping Class X exams doesn’t make sense”

    This is a bullcarap artcle. My dua rather bad-dua/shrap is ki iska beti/betaa koi suicide kare based on the Xth result tab iski akal thikane aayegi.

    Jo log education se jude nahi hain unko koi idea nahi that at a tender and immature age of 15-16 it is wrong to pressurise a child into getting 95-96% to get admitted into a good college.

    Just buy the latest India Today and check the cut off lists to grasp what I am trying to say.

  7. Arun said:

    I think this is an excellent proposal by Sibal. Hope he can implement this. I really don’t see the need for Board exams in Class X.

    The Unique ID Project is an excellent initiative. Life would be a lot simpler if every citizen were to be equipped with a Unique Biometric card. Nilekani’s appointment in this regard is encouraging.

  8. rks said:

    Akshay – “following instructions, and we seldom have people who think-out-of-the-box, are unconventional, bring in new innovation to this planet and genuinely think of making a difference.”
    That is true. But all of us can not do out of box thinking. If we make a system to support out of box thinking, then we might have more people who can do that but chances of failure among average student would be more. (reference US education system (That is what Mr Sibal is proposing broadly)- Obama wants to overhaul education from ‘cradle to career’“The solution to low test scores is not lower standards; it’s tougher, clearer standards,” )

    Tango – “Jo log education se jude nahi hain unko koi idea nahi that at a tender and immature age of 15-16 it is wrong to pressurise a child into getting 95-96% to get admitted into a good college.”
    Author clearly says that people do suicide because they don’t see any avenue after failure (I agree to it). Increase in seats is one option she suggested.
    Exams are merely testing uniformly, how good you are. Take for example – At higher level: If there are no tests for PG – medical then every body would opt for Surgery because that is where money is. At lower level: If there are no tests at 10th, most of the students would go for science as their parents sees that it is a future to a rewarding career. But I agree to general sentiment that there should be uniformity in marks/tests.

  9. Angels and Belds said:

    rks – while i disagree with you – i believe you have a very valid argument. Somebody said today that education system hasnt failed India but India has failed the education system. I think there is merit to it. A teacher said today with the huge number of students we have – marks is an absolute necessity. I think there is inherent logic in the last 2 statements. BUT….
    rks – this is my problem with your logic. I think we need to take this one step at a time. Doing away with 10th board is perfect because i dont see 1 logical use of that exam. People say it is to select your subjects for 11th which is bunkum. Kids have no frigging clue at that time what to do – its the parents and peer pressure pushing them.
    I think inherently the education system in India isnt that bad – what makes it appear bad is when u try to implement social justice using education as a tool – aka reservations AND just our mammoth population. I feel that we need to encourage innovation in India. At the rural level – we can do miracles to improve productivities across the board. We just dont encourage students to innovate enough in school. We need to move from a pure theoritical basis to at least a 30% of innovative real-life stuff in our education system. rks – you may be right about india producing better students but to what avail – innovation is far better in the West. Looking at it holistically – there are qualities of Indian education that we need to mix with Western systems

  10. Angels and Belds said:

    Let me go on a limb and say that what is going to differentiate India, China and US in the next 50 years is not nuclear might or democracy but who builds a better educated class of people. A pen is always mightier than the sword…

  11. Tango said:

    RKS- I merely mean class X exams, not at a higher level.

    Upto class Xth a modality should be worked out where grading should be dome, based on a year wise evaluation. Till that age children are not mature enough to come to terms with the fact that if they cannot get into top school/colleges
    like say Lady Shriram, Gargi Girls College, Hansraj etc. the world ends for them. They are not mature enough. Board Exams (a single at an All India level) can take place at a higher level.

  12. Tango said:

    It is very easy to say increase seats but it is really possible? For technical education if there is capacity for alab to hold 40 seats, twice a day, is it possible hold practical training for 200 students.

    When we ask for funds for additional equipments/lab staff we are told “Centre se mana hai” And that is the state of affairs at institutes funded by the centre not state.

  13. rks said:

    Beld – Agree to your comments, apart from removing the 10th exam. If we don’t have junior level badminton championship, how are we going to select people to play and win England open?

    Holistically, life is a series of different tests. We can not run away from tests, we may dither them but we have to face them at some point.

  14. Tango said:

    On paper I am supposed to take 14 periods per week (as per UGC/AICTE norms) I actually deliver 18 lectures /week (in the interest of the students!) Ab bolte hain 21-22 periods lo, why dont you appoint additional staff, based on the fees you charge and the govt. fundings.

    Jahan suit karta hai they say we follow UGC and where it suits them its AICTE that must be followed.

  15. Angels and Belds said:

    rks – i think you have the analogies wrong. I am not against tests but a board exam at 10th is of zero use. In our system – a kid who gets 97% gets to choose the group he/she wants in 11th – but a kids who gets 85-90% is stuck with commerce in most top schools. That is plain stupid IMO. I think the IT boom proves this point. Every other civil/mechanical engineer is working in a software company. Thats how much your bachelors education is worth in India – now think about 10th!

  16. rks said:

    Tango – “Upto class Xth a modality should be worked out where grading should be dome, based on a year wise evaluation. Till that age children are not mature enough to come to terms with the fact that if they cannot get into top school/colleges like say Lady Shriram, Gargi Girls College, Hansraj etc. the world ends for them. They are not mature enough. Board Exams (a single at an All India level) can take place at a higher level.”.
    Agree that as society we put lot of burden on kids.But at same time we have to recognize that all of us can not get admission in IIT.

  17. Angels and Belds said:

    >>we have to recognize that all of us can not get admission in IIT.

    herein lies the fundamental problem – dont you think. The issue isnt that everyone cant get into IIT but why cant we have good 2nd rung schools. We could probably pick 10-15 non-IIT schools that are decent. That is our problem – while at the high school level – there is lot right in our system – at the bachelors/masters level – india is pathetic imo

  18. Tango said:

    You have grasped what I’m saying Beld. No tests at class X. Obviously a kid getting 85% in ICSE loses out to a CBSE kid getting 90%. There should be a uniform board, for uniform evaluation.

    Yes, for top institutes a written test should be there, because not everyone can get into IIT and IIM.

  19. Tango said:

    Govt is looking into the problem. Many other institutes like BHU and Roorkee are now IIT’s and it’ll continue for other desrving institutes. They are good institutes and deserve it and will inspire other universities to up the ante and get IIT status.

  20. Angels and Belds said:

    Tango – i think thats the problem. I dont want the second rung schools (good schools) get IIT status. Every good school in US is not a Ivy league schools. In fact smaller schools are sometimes better in some specialized fields. We should encourage the IIFTs, IIPM’s, RECs, and numerous other private colleges to partner with foreign institutes and offer better education. Just like the US has a MIT and Harvard – IIT can still be there for the cream.

  21. Tango said:

    Beld I understand your concern, but the institutes that I mentioned, Roorkee and BHU, are both good enough to get it as the staff and labs are equipped. Most of the staff are Phd holders in Engg from IIT’s.

    I am not advocating for Bareilly or Jhansi College of Engg to get IIT status. There have been multiple inspections by technical commities before IIT has been bestowed. And there are twice a year surprise xheck ups to see if they are performing well, otherwise status will be taken back,.

  22. ritz said:

    “innovation is far better in the West”

    Right beld. First step is we should stop being excessively proud of someone’s memorizing of things and projecting that as as intelligence.

    ——–
    But I also agree with RKS stand here:
    “If we make a system to support out of box thinking, then we might have more people who can do that but chances of failure among average student would be more.”
    In country like India where there is vast diversity in economic/social almost every field..it will make more sense to just follow traditional system with some modifications.
    Over the years I have learnt that Persistence and patience/hard work are as important as just thinking out of box.
    ————-

    “there are qualities of Indian education that we need to mix with Western systems”
    yeah beld…

  23. Tango said:

    To sum it up, I sincerely hope that the attempts to improve things does work and we see some positive outcomes.

    1) Govt. must have single regulataory body to monitor education instead of UGC, AICTE, NCERT, ZXME, EMXZ ….

    2) There should be a single all India level board instead of ICSE, CBSE.. UP Board, Bihar Board, West Bengal Bpard etc.

    And most importantly a grading system, instead of absolute systems of marking.

  24. rks said:

    Beld – “I am not against tests but a board exam at 10th is of zero use. In our system – a kid who gets 97% gets to choose the group he/she wants in 11th – but a kids who gets 85-90% is stuck with commerce in most top schools. That is plain stupid IMO.”

    I am not sure what is the criteria today, but it use to be 65+ for science. 55-65 for commerce and anything below for arts after 10th exam. It was 12th exam which decided the college (engg and medicine or prestigious colleges in each city). Colleges which gave admission on basis of 12th marks were problem. But exam like IIT or CBSE medical are uniform exam and you need to be better than others to get admission. I have seen people with 55% in 12th getting admission in IIT and 80% not able to do so. But most likely if you score high, it means you are a hard worker or have better grasp of subject.

    Tango, Agree with above comment. But grading system is another way of representing absolute numbers with less discreteness. It still would lead to comments like “Mera baccha A hai aur aapka baccha B” :)

  25. rks said:

    Agree with Beld that increasing the number of IITs would ultimately dilute the IIT brand (distinctness). Let the colleges remain whatever they are called and strive to give better infrastructure and support.

  26. RAJ said:

    Nice discussion here…I believe the education system needs a complete overhaul…As Akshay pointed out our system at this momnet is purely aimed at creating clerks…We need a system where talent and excellenece can be unearthed…

    Just yesterday the DU announced its cut off markes for joining in colleges..I mean a student even after securing 93 pct marks is not able get the course of his choice..This is insane…We are only rewarding those students who can mug up and vomit in the exams…

  27. Som said:

    I was looking at the Economics cut off in the best colleges in Delhi like LSR, Hindu, Stephens and Mirinda House, It was like in the range of 95-98%. What the hell! Our state topper(state board)doesn’t even get that kinda percentage, It is so difficult to get 90% if you have taken Arts under state board. So to get that kinda percentage, one has to do his/her 12th under CBSE or ICSE. Or else there is no chance of getting a seat in these top colleges.

  28. RAJ said:

    Agree Som,

    That is the reason ,the proposal from Kapil Sibbal makes a lot of sense…Good beginning by the HRD minister…Remains to be seen the execution part BTW..

  29. texas_swat said:

    Good change. IIM batches this year are debating on whether or not to emulate the US style Grade non-disclosure policy for their placements. Kapil Sibal’s decision will go in strong faour of those who believe we need to get rid of the Grade disclosure.

  30. Gorilla said:

    ‘IIM batches this year are debating on whether or not to emulate the US style Grade non-disclosure policy for their placements. ‘

    This is unlikely to happen soon. IIM is what it is because of the competition.

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