To police examinations in the current online scenario, we ask students to write answers on paper sheets while keeping a mobile phone or a laptop camera focused on them so that the proctor can see them working. Sometimes, we ask them to work on one device and use the camera of a second device to display the live video.
There is plenty of hype floating around that "digital" is the future of education. Our experiences related to online teaching during the pandemic show shatter this hype.
Finally, the New Education Policy (NEP-2020) is out, though it is somewhat surprising that it comes bang in the middle of a pandemic, and when parliament is not in session. Even though almost two lakh suggestions were received as feedback on the draft policy (DNEP-2019) not much debate about these has been seen in the public domain.
Our penchant for somehow "topping the class" is deeply embedded in our cultural psyche. Now, we want to be the first in the world to develop and produce a Covid-19 vaccine, even though many other potential vaccines in the fray are far ahead on the developmental trajectory. One way to win this race is to just declare that we will get there first - and even announce a d...
The world's best institutions do not worry about rankings but in ensuring that they are respected by their peers for the quality of their graduates and research. They have not reached the top by trying to be "first". We should remember what we tell our students: if we study well , we are likely to get a good grade, but getting a good grade does not necessarily mean we...
It is good that we have online options but let us not kid ourselves into the illusion of normalcy. It is worrisome that despite ground realities of this sort, a sense of digital triumphalism seems to hang in the air.
The two great issues that will surely be impacted by the lockdown are admissions into the IITs and the employment of students from the graduating batch.
Bits and pieces of such situations are written about in the media but all of this is overshadowed by the "1 Cr +" salary hype.
The penchant for "standing first in class" does not affect only students, it has infected academic institutions as well as they strive to be designated an "institution of eminence" by the government.
We did not really need a policy document; what we need is an action document on strategy and implementation, one that identifies the few most significant issues and then details how these can be tackled.
A more basic issue is whether board examinations are a good measure of the attributes needed for a specific type of study. When so much of our board examination testing dwells on memorizing, regurgitating specific points mentioned in texts (in that given order!), do they really assess analytical or "deep thinking" abilities?
As long as inadequate and bad schooling exists and the difference between the number of aspirants and available seats remains huge, coaching of the Kota sort will thrive. Ultimately, it is only good schooling that can make them irrelevant.
The happy picture of smiling toppers entering IITs in different parts of the country is quite deceptive - many of the 16-17-year-olds arrive with the baggage of total exhaustion, a fallout of the damage and trauma caused by the grind and slog of coaching classes.
We now have all varieties of fusion between regular schools and coaching classes, from being identical (pretending to be a school to the boards and faking attendance, while actually doing just coaching for competitive examinations), to sharing infrastructure and teachers, offering expensive "combo" deals (Rs 4 lakhs for Class 11/12 if only school is opted for, and Rs ...