On June 20, Friday, HT’s front-page headline went something like this “Easy maths or tough maths?”
A catchy headline that provoked me to further investigate the article and so I perused it with growing discontent after every line. It seems our SSC Board has been idle with nothing significant to do for a while, so now; they have come out with a very “innovative strategy” to reduce the number of students that flunk in this seemingly tough maths subject in their 10th grade.
The “Innovative Strategy”: Come 9th standard and students will be given an option between “easy maths” and “tough maths”.
The Catch: Students stupid enough to take this bait, that is, students who opt for easy maths in their 9th standard would not be allowed to take up Maths at plus-two level (i.e. your 12th standard) and hence can forgo any chance of being engineers or physicists.
Our education ministry has plunged into a new low this time. To keep up the façade, they are now tampering with the syllabus. What brought on this “revolutionary change”? According to the statistics, 30% of students who appear for SSC fail in Maths every year and this is their solution for the problem! It is despicable, to say the least, that the Board in order to maintain the useless percentage of pass-outs is providing the students an easy way out.
Will the student’s 9th standard choices now decide their career? How is a mere 9th standard student going to decide so early on if he will be an engineer or not? How can young pupils take a mammoth decision as this when the career conundrum keeps baffling even many postgraduates too? As it is, our young generation is not the smart one anyways, then why make things harder for these scatterbrains?
If this is a viable solution then why stop here? Staggering numbers of entrants flunk IIT’s entrance exams every year too, let’s make that easier now. Easy IIT or tough IIT? Easy CAT or tough CAT? Easy CET or tough CET? Easy CA or tough CA? And so on and so forth.
Instead of dealing with the problem head-on by either revising the syllabus or making the examination papers a bit easier or changing the techniques of teaching, the Board is scrambling out of problem by providing an easy way out for itself and the students.
The grossly over-rated education system and percentage policy has been taken too far. In an attempt to increase the percentage, a mere number, the Board is compromising the learning of the students and ignoring the bigger picture.
If tomorrow, Manoj, a ninth grader, opts for “easy maths” so that it would help him secure a higher percentage to get into Science after his SSC and he decides he loves Computers later on and wants to be a computer engineer, what then? He would jarringly wake up the fact that he CANNOT take up engineering because he has not been allowed to take up Maths at plus-two level.
I’d rather Manoj didn’t study at all. It would do him a world of good if he just proceeded to learning computers himself and be an engineer instead of wasting his years choosing between “easy maths” and “tough maths”.