Indian Education – Common Minimum Program
Situation 1 – Student in Class XI who had a CGPA of 10 (on a scale of 10) in Class X needs pen and paper to calculate 10% of 7,00,000.
Even then he couldn’t get the correct answer. He gets the answer as 7,00,000 and does not bat an eyelid before writing the answer.
Situation 2 – 95% of the children when asked to write “x is at least 3” write it as x<3
Situation 3 – Logarithms has not been taught in the class but in Class XII they are taught Integral of 1/x is “log x” . Yes, they haven’t seen logarithms yet but are supposed to know natural log! They are just asked to rote it without understanding the concept.
We have been looking at the syllabus of various boards and realize that it is being stripped year over year. What was being taught in Class VII 15 years back, gets introduced in Class XI. Some topics like Logarithms have been completely taken off the syllabus.
In our earnest effort to keep up the basic minimum quality of education, we start a small class for Class VII which is board agnostic. The idea is to equip the students with the the tools that are required to be competitive in the quant world. They are taught topics like Unitary Method, Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Discount etc. They enjoy it thoroughly. But then come the school exams. In School, people are still being taught Decimals and Fractions. For one whole month students prepare for an exam where they will only be tested on decimals and fractions. They slog it out for that exam. They take the exam and then make the choice that learning unitary method is not that important as they will be tested on the easiest questions.
In the end, they feel whatever extra they learnt at Yschool had no incremental advantage in school exam. Unfortunately the people are so blinded by the mediocrity breeding school exams that they are not able to envisage the long term advantages of the curriculum followed at Yschool. We want good students to do better, expand their envelope of knowledge and awareness without putting too much pressure.
With our school exams geared towards the average students and because it does not differentiate the star students, there is no motivation at all. We are all for uniformity but if someone wants to learn more and go beyond the suggested curriculum we should support him in his quest for knowledge. If we do not, that is grossly unfair.
We really need to have a standardized testing platform where the idea is not to appease everyone but give the true picture. We agree that everyone should “pass”. But stripping the syllabus and lowering the level to make everyone achieve 90-95% is taking it too far. It gives children a false sense of achievement and any tryst with reality leaves them shell-shocked.
We need to have parallel and faster track of education for those willing to do more. This model of “Common Minimum Program” of education needs to be revamped sooner than later!