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Systems of education: Continuous evaluation Vs Periodic examination

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education_sign_resized

By Vishakha Mathur

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.

Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Colleges are always devising new methods to enhance the learning experience for their students and while they go head-to-head in discussing  the value of comprehensive evaluations versus exams, we sit down to evaluate which facilitates are better for youngsters.

On one hand, there are big universities grading their students on the basis of one-day exams and partial assessments given throughout the year and on the other hand, there are colleges that assay students via assignments and projects given across the year.

There are pros and cons of both of these methods, but the final conclusion lies with which one actually expedites better learning and critical thinking and whether that method is in fact greasing the wheels for education to develop intelligence in these students.

It is easy to argue against continuous evaluation by indicating the power it assigns to teachers and the increased possibility of bias but one really should probe with a finer needle to completely establish its supremacy over exams, which are nothing but a one-day event.

So what are these benefits?

To start with, continuous evaluations allow you to make a judgment by yourself and of yourself in terms of your standing among your peers. Through these evaluations, you can easily understand how much of an improvement you need and it gives you ample time to approach the instructor for help, to score and improve in your next assignment.

This is a lesser possibility with exams as they take place at the end of the semester/year which leaves you with no scope for self-assessment and improvement in grades. One also tends to ignore the internal assessments as these assessments are not a representation of your standing but just an evaluation of your writing skills.

Exams put undue pressure on students and force them to explore less and mug up more.

As they approach the day of the exam, all that students focus on is on memorizing the text and reproducing it in the exam.

It does not remain an intellectually stimulating experience as the entire system of education is supposed to be. Instead, it is just a race to proliferate information.

As opposed to this comes the concept of assignments and project work throughout the year, which definitely puts pressure on students.

Not only is this pressure divided in time but it is also intellectually stimulating to work towards a better grade, thus, increasing one’s pool of creativity and knowledge. While exams measure performance during a particular day that might be good or bad continuous evaluations give him ample scope  to evolve his work.

As far as the concern for bias goes, there are always ways to eliminate it.

Teachers can develop a system of anonymity where they do not know which student’s work it is at the time of grading so that they don’t express any favouritism towards them and assess the work based purely on its quality.

One needs to understand that with continuous evaluations, the grading cannot always remain low. Scoring, in fact, improves since the teacher cannot fail to recognize the efforts of student every time and grade him solely on her/his liking.

All of this is intertwined with the kind of knowledge, if at all, each of these systems is providing.

With exams, the whole purpose of education to impart knowledge which will then lead to progress, gets defeated simply because student’s knowledge is not getting tested, it is his ability to burgeon by cramming and cloning.

Whereas, with continuous evaluations, he is not only learning the theoretical text given in his books but is also manifesting it in his projects.

This, thus, leads us to believe that continuous evaluations not only keep students occupied throughout the year, instead of a few days but also enables students to gain knowledge through their own efforts and understanding of what they are being taught, leaving us with the thought that continuous evaluation serves students better for students than periodic exams.

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‘Tribes of India’ : An Online Database to Document the Lives of Indian Tribes

The database would contain rare and exclusive videos and photographs, above thousands, which have been collected from various Tribal Research Institutes around the country

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Indian Tribes, Tribal culture
Tribal culture. Wikimedia
  • The ‘Tribes of India’ will showcase the lifestyle, culinary culture, conditions of living of the tribes
  • It is going to be amazing to form a database collecting all the information regarding the characteristics of the tribes, as those will be accessible in the distance of a click
  • Experts from the ministry has also stated that the database would be frequently updated with new research inputs from sources and scientists

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: The very first attempt at producing a documentation of the lives of the tribal in India, is ongoing. The ‘Tribes of India’ will showcase the lifestyle, culinary culture, conditions of living, and historical and chronological facts regarding the evolution of their traditions and culture. The ‘repertoire’ is focusing on answering questions such as- the difference between the Gond tribe of Uttar Pradesh and the Gonds of Jharkhand, whether the tribes in Jharkhand possess a secret cure for anemia, and the status of living of the Santhals in the remote forest-zones.

ALSO READ: Lalung Tribe of Northeast India: What Makes them Stand Apart!

A database on the tribes of India is to be created by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The project aims to bring into light the art and culture, history of evolution and anthropological facts, lifestyle and eating practices, the rate of mortality, education system, architecture and the contribution of the tribals in India’s struggle for freedom, Economic Times has reported.

It has been planned that the database would contain rare and exclusive videos and photographs, above thousands, which have been collected from various Tribal Research Institutes around the country. It is true that the research institute has always showcased such collections, but this is the first time it is going to be saved in an exclusive database.

It is going to be amazing to form a database collecting all the information regarding the characteristics of the tribes, as those will be accessible in the distance of a click, from now on. Techniques to introduce a feature that would enable a viewer to take a virtual tour of the architecture of a tribal hut is also going to be implemented, a senior ministry official said to Economic Times.

According to the report, about 10 crore scheduled-tribe people form an 8.6% of the entire population of the country. But it has been observed that there has been no sincere attempt to showcase and explore the unique lifestyle of the tribes. The official further stated that the database would pose as an excellent guide for the research-scholars because it will contain the necessary statistics. Experts from the ministry have also stated that the database would be frequently updated with new research inputs from sources and scientists.

The database is to follow the effort of the government to explore and showcase the lifestyle of the Indian tribes and dedicate some museums as well to the tribes. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi addressed the nation and asked all to explore and research on the contributions made by the Scheduled Tribes in India’s freedom struggle, Economic Times has reported.

The database will also include links to the museums of various states post their construction.

-prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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West Bengal Topper’s name Archisman Panigrahi Appears in Jadavpur University Merit List without Applying

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Jadavpur University
West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi tops the Jadavpur University merit list without applying to the varsity. Wikimedia

Kolkata, July 14, 2017: West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi is in a unique predicament, his name tops the Jadavpur University merit list in four subjects without him ever applying to the varsity.

“I never applied to Jadavpur University but I came to know through a friend that my name figured in the top in the merit list for physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. The marks and birthdate were not mine,” the student said.

He said he has informed the varsity authorities.

“I have written to the dean highlighting that I had not applied and I can see my name on the top,” he said.

According to varsity vice chancellor Suranjan Das the matter will be taken up with the cyber crime department of the police. (IANS)


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Decoding Reservation in India: Is it a Constitutional Flaw or Unnecessary Favor?

The idea of 'reservation' has generated contradictory views from teachers and students all around the world

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Representational image. Pixabay

November 12, 2016: The word ‘reservation’ came up with the idea of representative government, where for the first time numbers mattered. The inequality of Indian society has solidified the need for numeric representation. The caste based representation, no doubt created a more confident lower class mass with their greater involvement in the public sphere. Reservation in education has evolved as a major challenge for lakhs of students. Far from providing an equal opportunity it has an electoral agenda. Education has been politicized based on reservation.

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However, the backward class proportion is still underrepresented. Article 15 (1) of the Constitution says, “State shall not discriminate any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”, it also provides for compensatory or protective discrimination in favor of certain sections of the disadvantaged people. Article 15(4) of the constitution stipulates that notwithstanding the provision stated above, the state can make “special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”. Thus constitution itself provides contradictory clause.

The idea of ‘reservation’ has generated contradictory views from teachers and students all around the world. ‘Caste should no longer be the eligibility criteria for reservation, rather income should be’ said HemangoAkshayHiwale, an M.phill aspirant in Jamia Millia Islamia University. Prakash, another student of same university claims reservation as a ‘good thing but in present scenario in India need to be reformed.’

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In August 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that for admissions at super-specialty level in medicine and engineering faculties, no special provisions like SCs, STs, BCs were permissible. Even among the quotas there are also sub-quotas. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, 15% of the seats in each course of study reserved for Scheduled Castes are in turn allotted, in proportion to their population, to four categories of SCs classified as A, B , C and D.

This affirmative step has so far brought with it social justice. US Carnegie Mellon University, published a study in American Economic Review, which shows that reservations do place those who do not qualify for affirmative action at a disadvantage, 53,374 scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward classes and general category students are at a loss.

Reservation in the past decades has increased the numbers of scheduled castes and scheduled tribe families with highly educated members, who can encourage and provide support for younger family members to continue their education. Thus, reservation in education as of now is more of a luxury scheme for these classes as the benefit is only confined to a limited population, whether they need it or not. The real needy ones are at a loss to whom the information or the financial access is debarred.

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Instead of favoring reservation, the government should increase the number of universities and government jobs for the benefit of its people. Nationalization of education can also be a solution to this issue. When the discrepancies within the universities are omitted; i.e. equal access to education without compromising the quality of education the disadvantaged students in remote areas will get justice. The proliferation of universities in villages with good teachers can also be an alternative.

Reservation should not be treated as a vote bank or an emotional quotient but a practical measure to help the lower section of the society. It should be kept in mind that the extended favor to the marginalized section might create an insufficiency for the other classes. With the critical Indian class structure, it should be kept in mind that any reform of upliftment will be judiciously measured before its implementation.

by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon