A Means to An End or An End in Itself

To see a mother hovering upon her kid to study, lest he should fail in the examinations, is a common sight. Teachers encouraging students to think from the examination point of view is not a rarity either. Emphasis on ‘good marks’ and a ‘good percentage’ is something we all have probably witnessed in some form or another. The devil, i.e. ‘examination’, as it is commonly referred to as, has thus come to acquire a razor-sharp edge ready to slit a student’s career if he happens to fail or score below a required or undesired percentage. 

Is this what exams are actually meant to be? An irrelevant botheration in a student’s life over which he loses sleep? A cause of worry for the parents? A reason to tremble for the teachers? Absolutely no! To get to this answer we must look at the concept of learning, or better-said, real learning. Real Learning is something which is much beyond examinations. It is that pure joy of acquiring knowledge, theoretical and/or practical, which leads to learning in the classroom and even transcending its boundaries experienced by students and that sheer pleasure of teaching witnessed by the teachers. So, where do examinations come from?

Well, to begin with, examinations should actually serve as a testing ground for the students, so that more important than anything else, they themselves are able to gauge their own levels, as well as ascertain if at all, any learning has taken place and to what extent. To the parents too this can prove to be of some help, where they can be enlightened about their child’s progress (though tested under restricted conditions). Afterall, they do spend a fortune on their child’s education, so it has to be accepted that they have every right to be acquainted with the direction in which their child is heading. 

Moreover, if designed and conducted in the right manner, examinations can also provide the teacher with an objective view of her own teaching methods and strategies. Least to say, examinations can be a boon for those laid back students, who make merry the entire year with their super cool tendency to procrastinate studying or learning till the sword of exams starts to hang over their heads. Inadvertently though, they tend to catch up on some knowledge and some even do end up getting interested in acquiring more of it. That ofcourse sums up as an advantage of examinations. 

If we keep all the above-mentioned aspects of examinations in mind, we can certainly reap benefits from this concept that can prove to be a means to an end. Better said, it can act as a resting phase in the students’ pursuit of real learning. 

On the other hand, however, what most of us have made out examinations to be is an end in itself. We focus not on our process of learning, not so much on attaining awareness, but somehow stress unquestionably upon clearing the exams. 

To be candid, it is more of a social conditioning that we’ve all got used to. Our hearty acceptance of toppers, while a rejection of the candidates who are not able to clear their tests, is a strong reflection of our system, which not only lays gratuitous and uncalled for emphasis on “clearing examinations”, but deters the young minds to be more open to change, hinders their creative abilities and acts more like a barrier to their acquisition of knowledge.

An openness towards learning as such, which provides students with an impetus to gain more in terms of knowledge and experience and that can help them to be confident individuals should rather form the foremost agenda of our education system. Here, needless to say, examinations can indisputably perform the task of motivating students to learn better, as well as certainly with more dedication and moreover, undeniably not as a concept developed by the authorities to demoralize them.    

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More By  :  Shalu Mehra

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