As PM Modi tweeted about the cancellation of 12th board exams there was cheer on many students whats app group.  . One such group that is associated with our daughter studying in class 12th had this message going viral in their group – We love Modi. And why not the tension of appearing in the board exam during the pandemic was like trying to conquer Everest in the winters. 
Personally speaking we would have liked some type of exams to be conducted, a simple token or whatever as we must not give our future generation an easy life at such an early stage. But that would not have been a politically correct decision. More so when the opposition led by Kejriwal, Priyanka Vadra and many others were speaking on behalf of a certain class of students who all wanted the exams to be cancelled. And so when we heard the PM attending the crucial meeting in the evening the decision was fairly obvious to us.
Now that the exams are cancelled, CBSE can go forward and announce an exam date for whoever wants to appear. At least it will give some satisfaction to the students who were seriously preparing for the exams.
We think that the pandemic has also given us an opportunity to think over the class 12th board exams with a fresh perspective. We have said earlier too that the examination system in the country is a drudgery with no real value. Only a handful students do serious studies , most of them are fearful, copying is rampant and there have been many heartbreaking stories too when the class 12th results are announced. Probable questions are available or are given and the students have to just mug them up and write back.
While evaluation is important, the pandemic also teaches us that we have entered a new phase in world history where we may face uncertainty from one thing or the other. Obviously one cannot resort to such mass promotion year after year . Lets say that if there is a third wave impact will the government announce another round of exam cancellation. The point that we want to make is that cancelling exams is not the solution and we must look to the future with a different set of lenses that the coronavirus wants us to understand and learn.
The pandmeic has taught the value of social distancing and living away from the crowds. It is also trying to teach us that Digital is the way forward. Kudos to the grand vision of PM that he saw this early and brough the Jan Dhan account yojana for millions of poor families of the country so that money could be transferred to them digitally. The government has also promoted “Digital India’ in a big manner. The days of physical closeness will stay but nature wants us to maintain and live in a different environment.
Education is an important aspect of human beings, which has been conceptualised and evolved over centuries. From gurukul paddhati of our ancient teachers like Vashishta who taught Shri Rama and his brothers , Dronacharya who proved to be a very obsessed teacher with his own prestige to Aristotle who was considered as father of modern education system enumerating laws and systems, to Patanjali , and then the present Mccaulays system of education the journey has been immense. And now we are being prepared to take another step towards an informal and digital online education system for which we must gear up in a big way.
We request the hon’ble Prime Minister, Education minister , and other dignitaries to think on this and make sure that the education system and quality is not compromised despite the world going into turmoil and uncertainty.
Urgency is needed to modernise and update institutions like NCERT, Unfortunately NCERT is going without a head presently. The final selection is still pending for reasons we don’t know. NCERT has been given the mandate to oversee around 84 tasks of the New Education Policy which will only get delayed in the absence of a full time Director/Chairman. The government must make sure that such decisions are not kept lingering and must fulfill the gaps at the earliest. NCERT must also be asked to correct the text books in line with modern times with a sense of urgency.
While we have to develop and focus on the content and practical side of education we also need to transform our evaluation and examination system which has become outdated and merely formality in many places. Students should be evaluated on the basis of analytical, logical reasoning and quantitative measures and abilities.. 
AICTE and UGC who are wasting their time and energies on outdated things must delve on such aspects and prepare the country to be self-sustained and competitive in a fast changing environment. NCERT has to be fully backed for a complete overhaul of primary and secondary education systems. The corona pandemic has given us an opportunity to reexamine the complete education system and also the evaluation process. The earlier we realize that the world has changed the better it will be for all of us and our future.
Dr. Asheesh Shah
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