MPs want stress-free examination system

March 17th, 2008 - 3:45 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Parliamentarians cutting across party lines expressed serious concern Monday over the education and examination system in the country, which they say was driving many students to suicide. They demanded a re-look at exam policies. Asserting that there should be a change in the system, Mohan Singh, who was presiding over the proceedings in the Lok Sabha, asked the government to call for an all-party meeting to discuss changes. He also said the lower house would have a detailed debate on the issue.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development M.A.A. Fatmi admitted that the situation, in which an increasing number of students are committing suicide due to stress and pressure over examinations, was a matter of “serious concern”.

“Children are not getting the environment that was envisaged. I am also concerned,” he said replying to a calling attention motion raised by Congress MPs Sandeep Dikshit and Priya Dutt.

Both Dikshit and Dutt, who were strongly supported by the other MPs in the Lok Sabha, pointed out that the education system in the country forces the children to “cram up” instead of “being creative”.

“According to psychologists, the students who face board exams are so stressed that they indulge in weird habits such as consuming tobacco, drugs and some of them reportedly eat lizards and toothpaste to overcome the stress,” Dikshit said.

He said the number of Indian children committing suicide was the highest in the world.

Dutt was not satisfied by the minister’s reply in which he explained the steps taken by the government to revamp the education system. She responded: “Around 12 children committed suicide in the last two weeks in Delhi and 15 in Gujarat in the last three months. It is a dangerous trend… there are too many (plans) on paper. But nothing is getting implemented.”

“It is strange that after 10 years of schooling, one exam will decide whether the child can take up future studies. We have to give freedom to the students,” Dutt said.

The MPs rued the fact that despite several statements from the government, children in primary school are still forced to carry heavy school bags and carry tiring homework.

Fatmi blamed the states - as education is a state subject - for not ensuring the implementation of the National Council for Education Research and Training’s (NCERT) new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) that emphasises on connecting knowledge to life outside the school.

“The NCF stresses on making examinations more flexible and integrated into the classroom life. Here an atmosphere of pressure in the families and schools also plays a major role,” the minister said.

“Schools are competing with each other on marks. The entire system is at fault,” Fatmi admitted.

“I know the house is unanimous. Whatever reforms need to be taken will be done,” he said.

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