Top-scoring students may be basking in glory in this exam results season but noted personalities say the marks-based evaluation is failing India’s education system with creativity and innovation taking a backseat. Most of the schools and higher education institutions are in a race to ensure top scores and good percentages and not on producing good human resource, according to them. There is shortage of high quality institutes and also not much incentives to original research, they say.
Chairperson and Managing Director of leading biotech firm, Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said in an era of design thinking, data science and innovation, the educational assessment must change from marks-based evaluation to IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient)-based systems. “Project-based experimental learning is essential,” she told PTI.
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Former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nair said the marks-based system is outdated and creates unhealthy competition. Exams have become “mugging-up” and memory tests, and they are not about the extent of knowledge that the student has acquired, he lamented. “Students are put through a standard course which produces a stereo-type product,” the eminent scientist said. According to Chairman of Manipal Global Education Services, T V Mohandas Pai, the system has become more rigid and focused on marks; and not on learning and creating excitement and curiosity.
“We need to have more active students, more projects, lighter curriculum, more doing than theory,” Pai, a former Head of Human Resources at IT major Infosys where he also served as Chief Financial Officer, told PTI. He added: “Today, all knowledge is available on the web; what we need is more problem-solving skills.” Secretary-General of industry body ASSOCHAM, D S Rawat said most of the higher study institutions and even schools are in a race to ensure top scores or good percentages.
“As long as there are no incentives on original research, you can say, we are producing products and not a good human resource from the universities,” Rawat said. Agreeing with the view, Nair, said there is no scope in the present system to assess an individual’s talent and scientific temperament. Nurturing of creative thinking based on individual’s aptitude and talent is needed.
“Montessori type of education system is more apt,” suggested Nair, who said there should also be continuous evaluation of teaching in class-room. More stress should be on learning and acquiring knowledge. Pai said creativity and innovation have become casualties in India’s education system.
“We need more high quality universities so that there is no mad rush to get high marks to get into top universities. This shortage (of high quality institutes) has led to excessive focus on marks”, Pai said. He said the idea that shortage of seats at high quality institutes would lead better quality is absurd.
India, Pai said, needs 100 IITs and IIT-like institutions in the private sector with an annual intake of 2,000 seats each as done by China. Fifty per cent of India’s 3,500 engineering colleges are “bad”, he said. With a population of 6.4 crore, the UK has 95-plus universities, while Karnataka with 6.5 crore, has only 45, half of which are of “poor” quality, according to him.
“We need good capacity in high quality institutes so that students know that admission isn’t only by marks or test,” Pai added. He expressed the view that students are at different levels of learning and it’s very difficult to create common standards.
India needs a three-tier system — top research and knowledge-based universities, the second one focused on skills and learning for jobs and the third one offering basic degree, he said, adding, admissions should be based on aptitude with marks only taken as an input.
According to Rawat, the reforms must begin with universities which need to encourage creativity and original research without any disincentives for failures, and skill development to deal with real life problems.