Education is the cornerstone of society. Society thrives on certain distinguished attributes which demarcate its principles of social solidarity. The interrelated functional aspect of individuals in society is guided by prevailing norms and values. Traditional societies were linked by survival bond oriented towards fulfilment of basic necessities of life. The noted example of Tribals in this direction is sufficient. They used to learn the interlinking bondage from elders and obeyed certain norms meant to keep them united and stable. This piling of experience went on through various phases to emerge in the form of Formal mechanism called education.
The change in nature, scope and significance as expected observed in this propagation of ideas led to dovetailed though specialised educational mechanism as is present today. The education is provided through hierarchical institutional mechanism by public as well as private sector. In our backyard the highest hierarchical ranked institution of Kashmir University right from 1948 to present has grown in volume, size, quality, standards etc.
The institution plays noticeable role in educational sector of state and is crown set in the jewel of kashmir. However the institution is crept with a steep problem of rigid and illogical evaluation mechanism in aftermath of examination which crushes the morale and talent of students. The institution is rampant with stark examples on this issue where it failed to keep the outcome of students intact. Is this natural for such a sizeable institution or the logical evaluation mechanism?
The prevailing ladder of secondary school and three year graduation is a colonial legacy recommended by Sadller Commission (1917-19) and subsequent award of degrees to recognise them systematically. After independence the country embarked on the existing mechanism to prepare talent for research and further education. On this basis the 12 years school education which changes subject of study at 10th followed by two years course in chosen subject.
Thereafter majority of the students enrol themselves in Kashmir University’s undergraduate courses and followed by post graduate courses. One area of severity in Kashmir university is the evaluation of papers which seems in steep contrast with secondary level held by established JKBOSE. And the contrast at intra-university level and inter-university level can also be demarcated. The papers are regularly held after completing syllabus for which students toil hard to better their prospect. They burn their midnight oil in expectation to gain maximum chunk of marks. What comes to surprise always is the mismatch of student’s expectation and teachers award. It’s therefore an established fact in Kashmiri youth that university grants dismal figure of marks at evaluation stage. Nowadays the question discussed in student fraternity is about the strategy of evaluation mechanism.
The extreme rigidity and rigorous evaluation puts down the spirit of students. There’s a spate of plaints regarding the harsh attitude of evaluators at Kashmir university. The University does provide a mechanism for revaluation after results but such a thing is unheard of in other higher institutions in ASIA. The revaluation mechanism is reliable to recheck but the response it gets in the university is unworthy of mention. If the marks failed to coincide with expectation only then such a measure is looked for. Had there been fair, transparent and unbiased evaluation, their would have been no need of revaluation and rechecking. The results fail to admire students for future who have fought with extreme vigour and vitality. Because the result is taken as test of the intellect and learning ability of student .But why it happens and why it gets repeated are numerous questions asked from student fraternity? It seems KU endorses memorising ability than learning ability!
To understand this issue the deeper look at administration and teaching faculty of university becomes of immediate necessity. The Kashmir university is habitual of family system . There’s a long list of families who occupy cap of university. The professors are interlinked by any of the blood relationship. The wards of the professors are prospective leaders which eliminates any possibility of competition in future. This problem breeds nepotism which puts down the meritocracy of papers in back burner. In this way the dovetailed process of favouring at each stage in evaluation process amplifies with time. Therefore those who lack any such favour are eliminated through piecemeal strategy. On the other hand the majority of Prof hail from Kashmir itself which creates a unique pie of homogeneous belief system. They evaluate the answer sheets out of arrogance most of the times which curbs the expected outcome. Moreover a norm of nip and tuck answer as that of university teachers creates ruckus in whole process. A university student is expected to jot down same points as delivered in classroom or as found on notes of their teachers. Therefore whosoever puts the thought howsoever original it may be seems a sought of challenge due to rigid attitude of evaluators. This strategy comes on the face when there’s transition from BOSE to University. The writer himself has gone through process by contrasting percentage of 95 percent at BOSE level ( one of state topper ) to 70 percent ( Not even distinction) of graduation. Then the university teachers also evaluate papers from JKPSC conducted for auspicious posts like KAS which are handled in childish way. The care for the job of unemployed hardly shakes morality of evaluator to pay the student in same coin. Instead of this the papers sent outside by JKPSC in universities like JNU, AMU and Delhi University shows a better performance of same student which is supposed to be failed by Kashmir university. A student of writers knowledge on revaluation shocked to see the marks award figure fetched by lone evaluated question. This horrifying episode speaks volumes about whole evaluation mechanism in said institution.
The evaluation process isn’t part of job but is provided with separate allowances supposed to be paid by student. What goes wrong is either urge for more money or established mental thinking of the evaluators at university. The norm of hard marking is unworthy for our talented youth. Although all the follow up recruitment drives are exam based but the marks sheet does play their role in study as well as prospective career. While studying the students are discouraged due to bleak performance outcome. This mandates them to memorise the facts supposed to fetch more marks than to learn and reproduce in one’s own way. In this way Einstein was either wrong or the KU professors supersede him in genus when he quotes ” Education is not learning of facts but Training of mind to think”. And the other quotation goes like” Education is piling of facts while as wisdom lies in their simplification”. These two poles are neither digested nor liked by at by evaluators who act out of there own free will and actual will of Rousseau. There are various loopholes and various measures to be adopted for future. The evaluation shall be under in camera supervision. This would put the familial relationship in lurch. The necessary obligation of marking at fixed quarter in university rather than professors choice to evaluate at home. And the reference at the end of answer sheet for award and marks should be jot down by professor to upheld his/her award incase of recheck. Moreover the breakdown of despotism in university is of immediate necessity to shed the norm of scholar evaluating answer sheets and delivering lectures. There ought to be a separate grievance redressal mechanism for examination rather than relying on informal consensus of student teacher approach.
The university holds sentinel position for education sector in state. The education after senior secondary level as per Hunter Commission is to provide opportunities for self assessment and self redressal rather than relying on arrogant attitude of university professors. The mismatch of ethics and duty in senior grade employees in the form of university professors who are supposed to withdraw more salary than district collector creates a hubris syndrome and breaks down the vital link of teacher and student in a blink of eye. The oft repeated plaint of KU students about this issue is endangered. There’s a need to fix the bolt in university at earliest. The recommendation as cited above need to adopted and implemented thoroughly to claim as stop for education than stop for despotism. The majority of candidates who hold honourable positions curse for being student of Kashmir University. The writer has interacted with inservice administrative officer who complained about the administration and handling of student’s career at university. A son’s hindsight is a father’s farsight. The students who bag bleak awards at KU fare fantastic at reputed institutions in Delhi like JNU. There’s a need on part of government as well as Kashmir university to overhaul lest you should fail to upheld the honourable spot enjoyed in state today. The more you reform the more you will be successful to renovate. Even water smells rot after some period of time if it doesn’t moves. The whole competitive world has sharpen intellect. The university trails behind as the torchbearers are acting in a childish way. The students are a jewel set in crown of university, they need to be encouraged with expected outcome rather than letting them down through erratic evaluation.
Writer hails from Misribehak Machil Kupwara and can be reached at [email protected]
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