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The Game Of 75%

The Game Of 75%

Sentinel Digital Desk

Priyanka Rajkhowa

The recent incident in a private college of Karnataka, where students were made to wear cardboard boxes, was truly a shameful incident. Not only has it pointed to the issue of humiliation of students but it has also brought to the fore the issue of degradation of the education sector which emphasises lesser on the fact of real learning.

I very often come across people who make comments on stuffs like, "Oh you have completed a research degree but what it the use of it? The education sector is a hardcore business nowadays as anyone can own a degree." But then these comments not only insult my hard work in getting a degree, but it is also an insult to numerous students who have worked real hard to learn and avail a degree for themselves. But sadly, people who actually go for a degree to learn have shrunk in numbers at present. Nowadays we come across private educational institutes who have actually made the sector of education a pure business - from high rates of fess to availing degrees for students without even considering the fact as to what the student have actually learnt during their course term. Education is taken very casually these days. People have started losing hope on real learning when they can easily buy and place a number of degrees at the back of their name.

But my worry is that many institutions – both private and Government sectors – produce students these days who only go for classes to sit for the race of 75% of attendance and nothing more. They fear the fact that it they don't compete in this race of attendance, they will be halted for a semester and than their parents will react to it. That curiosity to learn in the classrooms is long lost. Students sit in the classes, nodding to everything they haven't listened to while the teacher keeps delivering their lectures. They are more eager to know what is their percentage of attendance rather than what are the things they have learnt. But then the question arises: Are we actually educating our students or we are just providing them a degree which is earned by not real learning but by winning a race of 75% attendance in the register?

Students these days don't consider learning to be important during their term of degree courses. They try avoiding classes after availing the required amount of attendance. Why exactly is this shift from learning to attendance happening? Is it because of the exposure to the internet where students believe that classroom topics are easily available over the internet in one touch, or is it because of the environment the students are exposed to? The constant warning about attendance, over burden of assignment, etc?

I feel the need to travel back to the traditional classroom teachings immediately. The more the students are exposed to modern classroom teachings they are lesser interested in what the teacher is delivering in the lecture and more attention is given to copying the slides which the teacher has brought. Copying the slides, making Xerox copies of the notes for parrot learning for the exams are the priorities of the students these days, with marks being another main factor in the list. But among all these important things in the list, they miss out on real learning. We talk about two way communication in our classrooms but we do not see that happening.

Coming back to the Karnataka issue, can't we actually see what the system have done to our students now? It's shameful that even though we are talking about modern classrooms but in reality we have made them think and believe that education is all about securing marks and not bothering about the real motive of education. This is the reason why a majority of the students with degrees fail to survive in the long run, because nobody teaches them to learn, but teaches them to just face the race and run. Why is cheating during exams a major issue these days? Isn't it because the students who have attended all the classes have not learnt anything? Cardboard boxes aren't going to hide the fact that nobody wants to learn; all just want to pass. Why can't the education system just emphasise in building interest and eagerness among the students to come to class happily and learn, and not count the days they have attended classes?

The current trend of parrot learning and easy procurement of degrees facilitated by some institutes have people generalise the fact that education can be easily bought by anyone who is economically strong. But that's not true. Let's just make our students free from the race of attendance and find and generate new ways to create that eagerness to attend classes and learn.

Let us take into example the trend of media coverage on the day of examination results in our State. Are they really necessary? Do we need to tell our students that if you secure the highest marks, people are going to make you famous? And that if you are an average student, you don't deserve any appreciation for your hard work and effort? Why is it necessary to inculcate the idea that higher the marks, the more capable you are? Instead, let's build a healthier world for students where learning has not shifted to apps, but rather focus is given on marking traditional learning fun. Neither your marks or your attendance percentage actually matters until you are wise. Every student specially the ones from colleges and universities should make classrooms a fun place and interact with their teachers. The habit of questioning is long lost in these spaces, students wait for the class to get over. Until we shift our focus from making learning a factor based on percentage of marks and attendance, education will never be about learning. We will actually produce humans who have degrees without knowledge and forever card board boxes will be needed for the students.

As W.B. Yeats truly said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

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