Examinations, in some form or other, have become an integral part of the educational system in India. These examinations may be internal or external. Internal examinations are conducted by teachers themselves as a of promoting the ends of a sound instruction. External examination conducted by an outside authority is a public test of a student’s academic attainment.
A good examination must satisfy certain conditions. It should have validity. It must be reliable and adequate. It should be objective. It should eliminate the bias or subjective opinion of the persons who mark the answer scripts of the examinees. It should be easy to administer, easy to mark and easy to interpret.
The present Indian system of examination, however, fails to satisfy most of these conditions. This is mostly an essay-type examination. This system suffers from some major defects. The purpose of examination is not clearly defined. Examinations are conducted for the sake of examination.
The candidates cannot be expected to do justice when five or six essay-type questions are required to be answered within a time limit of just three hours. It will not be fair to reject the essay-type questions outrightly. Essay type questions have their good points too.
Such type of questions cultivates the habit and power of thinking as well as expressing. It involves an exercise of the powers of reasoning and judgement, selection, comparison, and other forms of mental activities.
It is good that a portion of essay type questions has been replaced by objective-type questions in the question papers. This has been done to discourage the habit of cramming.
Success in examinations, the opponents of the system contend, depends nous strokes of luck. Many a time it so happens that intellegent students fail while dull students get through the examination. Sometimes the paper-setter sets the questions which students are expecting and have prepared those questions.
Sometimes examinees manage to pass the examination by resorting to unfair and corrupt means. The corruption that has crept into our examina- tion system has made it into a farce. Question papers are leaked out so that many can make a fast buck.
This has happened even in the case of the IAS examinations. Tuition shops catering to emergency teaching before the examinations spring up. Script evaluators are bribed and even threatened. It is not possible to maintain secrecy at any stage.
Copying from books or other candidates is quite common in the examination centres. The candidates using unfair means in the examination hall often keep a dagger stuck on his desk to intimidate those posted on invigilation duty.
Many eminent persons has raised their voice against the existing system of examination. They doubt the efficacy of this system in the light of the evils that have crept into the system.
According to them, radical changes in the system are the need of the hour. This is a vital necessity for the healthy growth of love for education. No examination should be left to the mercy of dishonest and unscrupulous students and prejudicial and irresponsible teachers.
Paper-setters, invigilators and examiners should be persons of proven worth and integrity. They must have a sense of duty and responsibility. They should do their utmost to curb corrupt practices and maintain the sanctity of the examinations.
Some healthy, prompt and practical measures are necessary for the matter to make the examination a successful survey of the nature of instruction imparted to the students. The various State Boards of Education and Universities have also some responsibilities to share for improving the examination system.
These bodies should ensure that exam inter is not burdened with a large number of scripts. These bodies lay emphasis on the timely declaration of results and not on the standard of evaluation of scripts.
The examiners are allowed a very short time for examining them. With his other normal tasks, he or she does this additional job. And he seldom does justice to those young learners whose fate is sealed by his hasty judgement.