...the man behind these announcements, said he was not responsible for all the recommendations. Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal had proposed on Thursday that the Class X board exam be scrapped and that the state boards be done away with to bring about parity in the education system.In a welcome statement, the professor clarified that he didn't recommend doing away with state boards:
Though I had suggested a uniform examination pattern throughout the country, I did not recommend doing away with the state boards. The state boards can function alongside.While it's easy to see that Kapil Sibal could have conjured up such nonsense himself, we'd like to point out that the Yash Pal Committee is no less a party to this whole mess. The Committee's statements on School Education are very confusing, incomplete, superficial, incorrect, and totally disconnected from ground reality - especially in Karnataka.
The report does actually talk of needing to "rethink on the need to continue" with state boards. Here's an extract from pages 42-43 of the Committee report - what we described as a disappointing "brief commentary on School Education" (this paragraph is about all the report has to say about School Education):
National tests like GRE should be organized round the year and students from all over the India aspiring to enter universities should be allowed to take these tests as many times as they like. Their best test score can then be sent to the universities of their choice which can admit them if they satisfy other criteria set up be the universities. This requires a rethinking on the need to continue with State Boards of Secondary Education and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which are instruments for normalizing school level competencies – a purpose equally accomplished by the national tests mentioned here – and seriously think of reviving our faith in each school and its teachers to credibly evaluate its own students.Firstly, the committee talks about so-called State Boards of Secondary Education. If there is anything resembling that in Karnataka, it's the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board or the KSEEB which conducts the Secondary School Leaving Certificate or SSLC examination, after which (surprise!) students don't go to Universities! They go instead to the Pre-University stage where they spend 2 more years. So what Karnataka calls as Secondary Education is not what Prof. Yash Pal understands. In fact, he's talking about PUC here - but neglecting Karnataka's system. That's disconnect number one for you.
Now to disconnect number two. The body overseeing Pre-University Education in Karnataka is the Department of Pre-University Education - a state department which does a lot more than simply conduct examinations or "normalize school level competencies". It is nonsense to talk about any examination replacing this department. The department, for example, sets the syllabus for PU education in PU colleges (not schools, mind you!). The last time we checked the Oxford Dictionary of English, examinations don't do that.
We also ask whether the Committee has sufficiently analyzed the consequences of having a test like the GRE as the gating examination for university entrance in India. What steps will be taken to ensure that PU colleges in Karnataka don't gear up to become "GRE tuition centres"? What will ensure that PU students don't spend their lives solving Shakuntala Devi's puzzles and mugging up English dictionaries (on the role of language in education, more later) instead of studying Kinematics, Calculus, Demand-Supply theory and Cell-Biology?
What the hell is going on here? Who gave these Yash Pals and Kapil Sibals the authority to mess with Karnataka's schools and colleges? And we haven't even got to the importance of Kannada-medium and the inability of jokers in New Delhi to even recall the names of half the scheduled languages of India (without going to Wikipedia, we mean).