By MK Yadav
Covid-19 pandemic has changed the entire dynamics of School education. The last two years have been really difficult for our school students. The continuous closure of Schools, shifting of classes to online mode, postponement of examinations, and lack of peer group learning has created a wide “learning gap” in the system. There is an increased awareness and demand in the education system to integrate the latest technology & techniques in educational systems to shift the pedagogy from “rote learning to critical thinking”.
To overcome these challenges posed by Covid-19 and make our students “ready for 21st Century”, CBSE has announced Term based examination at secondary and senior- secondary level, i.e., from class IX-XII. The latest Curriculum prescribed by CBSE endeavors to provide competency-based learning and imbibe the components of the 21st century, which focuses on learning, literacy, and life skills.
CBSE has categorized the school examination for Class IX-XII into three parts: Term-1 (Nov- Dec), Term-2 (Feb- March), and Practical & Internal Assessment. Both the terms are having equal weightage; the unique syllabus and the syllabus of each term are not overlapping with each other. Term-1 is having MCQs based questions and there is no practical examination in Term-1. Also in Term-1 the students would be getting marks and no tag like pass, fail, or compartment. Term-2 will have subjective based questions and it comprises theory and practical components.
In my opinion, it is a welcoming move. Today, our focus should be to teach the students those skills, which will help them to survive and flourish in the competitive world of today. Unfortunately, the focus of most of the schools currently is on cramming the syllabus and passing the examination. There are very few schools in the country, which focus more on skill-based education than cramming information.
Today, the students need to have conceptual clarity, an exploratory mindset, and do a critical analysis of the information. They should be in a position to sift out the important information especially in this era of information overload and should have clarity about their focus areas. What we decide at present shapes our future. If the students lack the comprehension ability, they won’t be able to make a proper decision and will not be able to take charge of their lives. Most of the school students in India still follow a typical trend when it comes to choosing their career, and succumb to parental and peer pressure. Most of them are ignorant about their ability and the field in which they can flourish and lack the decision-making ability.
The new pedagogy followed by CBSE focuses on critical thinking, communication skills, and creativity, which will help the students to deal with the changes, make them more curious, help them in developing an inquisitive mindset, and will transform the way they think about the future. The type of questions, which are being asked in exams like assertion- reasoning, statement, and conclusion, the case studies will make them ready for the real-life problem-solving scenario.
Also, when we look at the various career-orientated entrance examinations, which are conducted after class 12th, they focus more on the reasoning ability and critical thinking of the students. If this is not being taught at the school level or if students have not developed such a type of ability at the schools level, it gets very difficult for them to crack these exams.
We all are aware of the CUET, which is going to be there for 41 central universities, which will most likely have an objective and subjective type of questions (information through different newspaper articles) and if a Student has practiced such types of questions at the school level, the entrance examination will be a cakewalk for them. The current term assessment policy will help students to think for themselves, think about future perspectives, and will help them make a calculated decision based on learning, literacy, and various life skills. And last, but not least, it will reduce the burden and stress of the students. Earlier where students used to fear examinations, now they will enjoy giving these papers.
Finally, I would like to suggest that we should shift our focus to analytical learning for our students from primary schools and develop critical thinking ability from the tender age and give India a better future.
(The author is CMD, AI Testified (incubated at IIT Kanpur). Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)