Kapil Sibal, India’s HRD Minister, has announced plans for abolition of Board Examinations for Std X and Std XII. He wants grades to be given in place of marks. He wants one Board for India. There are many other plans. I want to comment on exams and marks.
The reason given for abolition of Board Examinations is they cause stress for students. Examinations by themselves are not cause for stress. In big cities good colleges are few and High Schools are many. To get admission in good colleges there is tough competition. Sometimes 90% marks are not enough. There are some colleges for which there is not much competition. The solution is to increase the number of good colleges. There has to be some criteria for admission to colleges. If Board Examinations are done away with there will be tests for admissions to colleges. There will be stress to pass those tests. The stress is more for students who want admission to engineering or medical colleges.
Marks give the exact percentage. Grades give general percentage. A grade may mean 90% – 100% marks. If there are 50 seats and 100 students with A grade apply how will be admissions decided? In one college a student with 98% may get admission and a student with 97% may not get admission. If there is one seat and both have got A grade and applied on what basis admission will be made?
What system USA and UK follow is not our business. Their system need not be better than what we follow. These countries are bankrupt.
A student who wants to develop her personality while in high school can do so. S/he can spend time in extra-curricular activities but should not expect to be treated as equal to students who study more and get more marks.
When there are more applicants than seats there will be those who do not get admissions. Those who get admissions will be happy. Some of those who do not get admissions will demand change in system. In Delhi admission to Nursery used to be by tests. It was said that the tests caused stress to children. Tests were abolished. Point system was introduced. A child of the locality will get five points. A girl of the locality will get five points. A child with sibling in the school will get five points. There were some other criteria on which points were given. As usual applicants were more than seats. The parents of those who did not get seats wanted to revert to tests.
Women’s Reservation Bill is in news again. UPA Government wants to pass it. One third of seats in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies are up for reservations for women.
Very few have opposed reservations for women in legislatures. Some want the reservation to be 20% instead of 33%. Some want reservation for women of backward classes in 33%. Some want it to be obligatory for political parties to give 33% or 40% tickets to women.
Women are free to contest 100% of seats. Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha head political parties. India has a woman president and a woman Lok Sabha speaker. In 1966 a woman became the prime minister of India.
Women form 50% of the population and so they should have reservations in legislatures is not a valid argument. In some fields percentage of women is more than men. Most of the primary schools teachers, telephone operators and receptionists are women. In some fields men are more than women. Drivers of trucks, taxis and autorickshaws are mostly men. In some fields percentage of men and women is same. Number of men and women TV newsreaders in almost equal.
The constitution of India guarantees equality. Reserving seats is against equality. Many people want to be seen politically correct and do not publicly oppose reservations. If women constitute around 10% of legislatures because many women have not voted for women candidates. Mostly votes are cast for political parties. Women do not vote for a woman just because she is a woman.
Political parties give tickets on the basis of winnability. The women who have chance of winning are given tickets. Some women contest as independents. Reserving seats means those who could not have made it are allowed to make it and those who could have made it are not allowed to make it.
Reservations once come into effect do not go away. They continue and expand. Reservations for SCs and STs were meant for 10 years. They got expanded to 60 years with no sign of ending. OBC reservations got added. There is a competition to be backward. Those who are backward want ST status.
Women’s Reservation Bill is presently for 15 years with rotating constituencies. If passed, it is unlikely that reservations will end after 15 years. Extensions can be expected.
Reservations for women in local bodies and city buses must come to an end. Income Tax exemption limit should be same for men and women. Reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs must come to an end. UPA Government must scrap the Women’s Reservation Bill. Otherwise those who are not part of UPA should oppose the bill.