Advancement and exposure to new academic concepts is normal exercise
As far as the Draft National Education Policy NEP-2019 is concerned, introducing semester system on school level is a great step to change the educational landscape on secondary and higher secondary level. With its implementation students can meet the future challenges on academic front. We know that we have a bitter experience of semester system at College and University level, but the onus completely lies on academic administrators who have completely failed to implement it, as put by University Grants Commission.
Semester system was never a failure in academics, but some dummy drills in our higher education system has destroyed its basic purpose, leads us to delayed academic courses and programmes like degrees. However the NEP-19 critically analyzes and defines the semester system both from teacher as well from student perspective. It also describes its significance and validity. If we go and collect the data through questionnaire from different quarters, thus to know in which system the students perform efficiently and effectively, nobody will hesitate in saying that the semester system is far better than annual system of examination.
As observed, the failure ratios in annual examination system are high, as students obtain comparatively low marks, having disciplinary problems. If semester system will get implemented according to NEP-19 at high school and higher secondary level, it will show a lot of difference in examination methodology. We all are familiar with the fact that in semester system students are only focusing towards their subject objectives with a prescribed syllabus, but this is not the case with annual system of examination, as students consider that they have enough time to attempt one final examination at the end of year, therefore they remain idle for many months in session and prepare themselves for examination in two or three months. It leads majority of them towards failure.
Here in J&K state we have two types of examinations annual and term examination. These types of examination systems had still practically failed to bring out some positive change instead of only rote learning, out of syllabus papers, delayed results and much more. The NEP-19 clearly addresses how semester system of examination improves the quality at student’s level, and influences the academic standards.
Our state has a 20-year inherited educational system from British and is still operating under the principles and methods of “An Annual Education System”. But the Draft National education policy 2019 assumes now a great significance, as students for the first time will move towards diversification of academics, by which students will start developing their own thinking and independence of mind. They can choose their elective subject of their own choice, which would enable them to cope with the challenges of future. They may, therefore, choose either specialized academic courses or job oriented vocational courses.
Educational systems all over the world have never been consistent over a period of time. Though advancement and exposure to new academic concepts is normal exercise. The semester system of examination gives students an ample chance to cover the syllabus in a phased manner, with understanding and opportunity to grasp the concepts. Not only this, student can get promoted to another semester if failed in one or more subjects. In addition, the students have a chance to appear in supplementary examination to pass their failed subjects after the deceleration of previous semester result. If he/she fails to pass the subject a backlog examination is conducted in next academic session with next batch.
As drafted in the NEP-19, I’m accepting the goals of diversification and flexibility at the higher secondary stage. But special care needs to be taken of the institutions located in rural, tribal and remote areas and the students therein, by providing them special inputs regarding implementing the semester system. The law also provides positive discrimination to see that the neglected and the weaker section of students are brought into the mainstream. However, there is a need to identify the various ingredients and variables that ultimately determine the quality of education and its end product.
The NEP-19 outlines the detailed curricular outlines for school education, and identifies learning outcomes, variety of instructional materials with audio-visual, multimedia packages and improved evaluation tools, which must be developed in a dignified manner at school level. And yet all this may not be enough. It is the process of curriculum transaction, both in and outside the class that will have to be carefully looked into. The teacher will have to play a catalytic role, entirely different from what he or she is used to at the moment. A teacher will have to plan meaningfully and imaginatively learning opportunities in which students are encouraged to learn individually, in small groups, from one another and from the society and environment at large as drafted in NEP-19, so that students will build their learning skills.
The NEP-19 semester system has a vision for greater flexibility of courses offered at secondary and higher secondary level. The greatest argument in support of implementing semester system is the freedom it offers in experimenting with the satisfactory tools and techniques of evaluation in general and the learning outcomes in particular. One of the most important things is that the students will get a sigh of relief from 10th and 12th class examination fervour. The chaos of annual date sheets, fake result announcements, out of syllabus papers, hunt for position and distinction holders, and students will be saved from such dummy drills. The semester system will not only augment the school education system, but will lead us to diversification of academics, which will make our school education more vibrant and student centric.
Emergence of a growing affluent middle class eager to spend money for good education for their wards, has changed the total teaching-learning scenario. No doubt, private initiatives in school education can contribute substantially whenever introduced with a sense of service, sincerity and commitment. However, the mushrooming number of private coaching centers in every lane, these days has shaken the very foundation and philosophy of school education. If semester system will be implemented, it will really be a miracle for those students who cannot afford expensive private coaching. Such mafia will get properly eliminated if semester will get introduced.
There are other ways to improve our school education system. This is an opinion in the back drop of NEP-19. There is a need of unstinting support of J&K BOSE officials in this exercise, and I’m confident that under their visionary leadership they will try to achieve the desired firstname.lastname@example.org