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Pariksha Pe Charcha 5.O from student’s eye

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If you want to understand the impact of the most dreadful word “Examination” on the psyche of students just read the two stories written during two different time periods and in two different time zones but with similar stream of thoughts. The first one written in 1903 by Helen Keller in her autobiography “the story of my life” where she says, “the examinations are the chief bugbears of my college life. Although I have faced them many times and cast them down and made them bite the dust, yet they rise again and menace me with pale looks”, her emotions before the examination days are even more deadly when she says, “The days before these ordeals take place are spent in cramming your mind with mystic formula and indigestible dates—unpalatable diets, until you wish that books and science and you were buried in the depths of the sea” she becomes even more savage expressing the dreaded hour inside the examination hall, “It is most perplexing and exasperating that just at the moment when you need your memory and a nice sense of discrimination, these faculties take to themselves wings and fly away.”

Now let us see what exact are the words of our chief protagonist in the story “Bade Bhai Sahab” written in 1910 by Munshi Premchand. “God alone save you from geometry. If you wrote ACB for ABC, you would lose all the marks. No one cares to ask these cruel examiners as to what is the difference between ACB and ABC, and why they torture students for these worthless things. How does it matter whether you eat dal-bhat-roti or bhat-dal-roti? But these examiners don’t care. They see only what is written in the books. They want students to cram everything word for word, and this cramming has been called education.”

Stories from two different continents yet with exactly similar emotions, describing exams as the Pandora Box with stress, anxiety, fear, tension, pressure and cause of many other disorders resulting in exam phobic behavior. And if you are skeptical about the views expressed in the story “Bade Bhai Sahab” or as expressed by Helen Keller in her autobiography, just give a free composition writing task on the topic “Day before examination” to your child or student and you will find reproduction of same thoughts as expressed by Keller or Bade Bhai Sahab in their stories, buttressing the idea that not much has changed for over a century about the examination system. Even at time you will think that using the time machine either Helen or Bade Bhai Sahab or your student has plagiarized each other’s thoughts on examination.

And here our story takes a turn. The scenario in Indian Schools post “Pariksha Pe Charcha” has changed radically. The altered views over examination has turned this dreadful event to festival with the aim to bring out the best, with the aim to go on a journey for three hours to acquire knowledge not marks, to compete with self not with others, with focus on creativity rather than mugging, cheating or plagiarism.

And this paradigm shift among the students, teachers and parents on outmoded examination system to a festive event to celebrate the unique potential of each child is the result of yet another book “Exam Warrior” written in 21st century by Prime Minister Sh. Narender Modi to do away the negative connotations associated with the term ‘Examination’ with the crystal clear message for students, “Be a Warrior not a Worrier.”

About the Writer:
Bhawani Singh PGT English JNV Sirohi (NCS approved NCERT Counselor associated with MANODARPAN, Global Facilitator Oracle Education Foundation USA, Fulbright Scholar USA)

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