When the HRD Minister Mr Kapil Sibal proposed some ground breaking reforms in education including a proposal to do away with the class X exams on June 25th 2009, the entire country digested the news with a lot of skepticism. Goa was no different and the voices in the state are completely mixed as to what would be the outcome of such an enforcement should it come by our way.
In Sibal's words, by this proposal he intends to de-stress the existing education system where the students are currently suffering from a trauma towards exams. By this move the HRD minister aims to bring some joy back into the childhood and high school for students who feel stressed in the current scenario.
The proposal also mooted a overhaul of the education system replacing marks with grades, establishing an over-arching higher education authority under a one-nation, one-board principle and introducing a tough law to prevent, prohibit and punish educational malpractices. A semester system is also a part of the plans.
Sibal anticipated resistance from state governments in the case of making the standard X exams optional but was hopeful of getting around the hurdles by holding negotiations with everyone. He also stressed that the proposal was not his personal decision but was presented after a panel of educationists deliberated and discussed over it for a period of time.
The proposal could be implemented in the CBSE schools in the earlier stage as these schools are under the centre and the government can implement the proposal here without interference. Making the class X exams optional would mean that students who want to continue in the same school and do not need a CBSE certificate can opt not to appear for the board exams. They are expected to be judged on quarterly assessments. However students who want to move to another school after class X will need to answer the board exam.
Some educationists in Goa preferred to understand the policy first before commenting on it while some others lamented that every government announces different policies and constant changes in educational reforms will not help anyone. However there are some others who are very receptive to the reforms in Goa.
While some Goans felt that the SSC exams were an unwanted pressure for those who want to develop their skills, it may be required for those who want to pursue their studies. Grading was also expected to help in warding off the rank system which many Goans felt leads to an inferiority complex among students. A uniform syllabus is also considered necessary as students move out of Goa to join professional colleges. However students in Goa also feel that the marks and percentages help to motivate students to perform better and that the current proposal could be a dampener for some students