Coimbatore: At a time when there is growing concern over the negative implications of rote learning and passing examinations through memory recall, the Tamil Nadu School Education Department has opened a can of worms by releasing e-guides for class X and XII students. The Department has announced that the virtual guides will be made available in a CD format to State government-run and government-aided schools through the respective Chief Educational Officers.
The underlying objective is to increase the pass percentage in Government -run schools in the public examinations by focusing on important questions. The move has sparked a debate on the utility of such guides. “Guides cannot be an effective replacement for teachers at any level. Teachers are more experienced hands in transferring knowledge to students than any additional aids. The teacher alone would know the psychology of a student and the pedagogy to be applied and, accordingly, classify the needs of students,” points out C Thangaraj, Vice Chancellor of the erstwhile Anna University of Technology (Chennai).
While welcoming the e-guides initiative partially, State Planning Commission Member (Education) E Balagurusamy cautions about its objective. “Achieving 100 per cent pass mark does not mean academic excellence. There will be no use if a student merely scores full marks without developing analytical skills,” he says.
The state education body has opened a can of worms by releasing e-guides for class X and XII students.
S S Rajagopalan, a holistic school education activist and former headmaster of Sarvajana Higher Secondary School in Coimbatore, is critical of the decision to distribute guides for the students of Classes X and XII for passing examinations. “If this initiative was taken for improving the quality of education, students of every standard should have been supplied with the guides. Any scheme intended for the development of students has to be implemented from the primary level. At present, the number of students from State school getting admitted in esteemed institutions like IITs is less than 300, which is only about one per cent of the total students who pass out,” he argues.
“As it is the public examination question papers are based purely on textbooks. In Mathematics, almost 60 per cent questions are lifted rom the textbooks. We need a system where out of textbooks questions are asked as it will improve the analytical skills of students,” Rajagopalan adds.
R Manimohan, chairman, Students Welfare Association of Parents, Coimbatore, agrees. “If you supply exam-oriented guides, it will definitely curtail the natural tendency of a student to think and analyse. Moreover, students will lose their ability to retain the concepts and fundamentals of a subject,” he said. According to him, instead of supplying guides, the Education Department must take steps to better equip Government schools so that a congenial atmosphere for studying can be created in these schools.