With a debate raging in Maharashtra on the 90-10 quota for admission to junior colleges, the Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal came out with a series of proposals, to reform the aging education system in the country. India is a big country, with a number of states, and most of them have their own education boards. Each board has their own rules, and often, the rules are arbitrarily set, and is the source of controversies in many situations. Among some of the recent cases, the Maharashtra government has proposed a 90% reservation in junior colleges for students from state board schools, and the remaining for students from CBSE and ICSE boards. This percentage has been based on the percentile stats across the states, but has caused a stir in the Urban areas, where a greater percentage of students go to schools from these other boards. In a number of states, the local language is forced upon the students, and this can be a big problem for students, who move to that state at a stage, where it would be difficult to pick up the new language. Sibal has called for the unification of all these boards, so as to have a uniform system throughout the country. Sibal has also proposed to do away with the 10th board exams, which he considers unnecessary. Quoting Sibal, “Education is not meant to traumatise the parents and students. This is unacceptable”. He also proposes to have grades for these examinations, instead of a numerical score.
I feel that this is a wonderful move, and will be very helpful for students as well as parents, who are often more concerned than the students themselves( ask me about that aspect 🙂 ). Another area where this will help would be in the admissions for institutes of higher education, which has become a rat race of tremendous proportions. I have just come out of this rat race, and hopefully, I am one of the last few, who have to go through this stage. The situation may be bad until 10th standard, it worsens after that, because this is the stage where it really matters. All states have their own entrance examinations, with different rules for each. I know of many people who found it difficult to get admission in higher colleges, solely because they had not stayed in that state for a certain number of years( a lot of states have rules, that allow a student to take up such exams only if he/she has lived in that state for a certain period of time, usually 6-8 years minimum ). I find this very unfair and hope that it gets sorted out with the reforms. Another thing that I have observed is that in many states, the board exams in 12th don’t really matter. It is the various other entrance examinations that count. I have seen many cases where colleges have tie-ups with coaching institutes, wherein the colleges give complete attendance for the student, without him/her having to attend college, leaving him/her free to devote all of his time towards these competitive exams. I know of many people who have gone through their 11th-12th years attending college only for their practicals. The system is prevalent in Kota, Hyderabad and a few other places, from what I hear. What is more alarming is that many of these coaching classes follow a heavily examination oriented approach, which turns out bad for a number of students in the years to come.
I sincerely hope that this is only the beginning, and the reforms actually get carried out, which would certainly help students, as well as parents, and lead to the overall development of the country.