Though it boosts competitiveness, it constitutes an additional burden: observers
A public examination for Class 11 would ensure that the syllabus for Class 11 that gives students a strong grounding in the fundamentals of subjects is not ignored in the pursuit of good marks in Class 12.
Educationists, however, say that while this move is primarily intended to boost the performance of Tamil Nadu students in engineering and medicine, it is an additional burden for the vast mass of students. They also say that the public exam goes against the spirit of recent decisions such as not announcing rank-holders in public examinations so students are not put under undue stress and peer pressure.
“The common reason given for introducing a public exam for Class 11 is that many schools were teaching Class 12 syllabus for students when they are still in Class 11. The failure of the School Education Department to monitor the schools cannot become an excuse for overloading a student,” opines retired headmaster and education expert S.S. Rajagopalan. He also points out that the Board of Higher Secondary Education and Board of Higher Secondary Examinations had earlier discussed the issue and decided not to hold a common exam for Class 11.
Mr. Rajagopalan contends that those making the decision were focussing more on students who would get into medicine and engineering courses. “Of the 10 lakh students, however, only 1.5 to two lakh go for medicine and engineering,” he adds.
Mr. Rajagopalan cites the report of a committee under Professor Yash Pal, which urged reducing the number of exams for students, and observes, “Here, we are increasing the number of exams for our students.”
Former Anna University Vice Chancellor and former Chairman of IIT Kharagpur M. Anandakrishnan says, “If you want to ensure that students study their Class 11 syllabus properly, question papers for Class 12 exams could include substantial questions from Class 11 syllabus.”
Students should not be subjected to mental agony, he contends.
A. Narayanan of Change India agrees with Anandakrishnan. “Merely holding public exams is not enough unless the question paper pattern in the public exam in 10th, 11th and 12th is changed to move students away from rote learning towards thinking, applying and problem solving, especially in maths and science subjects,” says the child rights activist.
P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary of State Platform for Common School System, however, welcomes the Class 11 public exam. “It [introducing Class 11 public exam] has been a long pending demand.”