Are Exams Barrier To Education?

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“Exam” – The occasion which made me owl, taught me how not to sleep at night.

Obviously it was a result of something called ‘fear’. But in other way when I look at my life, it clearly states that- the ability which makes me to solve the problems of daily life, is also results of the experiences which I got from my academic-non academic exams. Though obstacles of life is also like exams!

The situations stated before was from my own practical days and thoughts.  But truly for all the students, at a point they are reliable to exams. Every single person of this time must had to face this. So, it is very usual to exist various perspectives about this ‘fact’. I don’t want to just burst out my own opinion at the very beginning. I’ll be trying to elaborate the whole scenario.

The power points of stated argument are ‘Exam’, ‘Barrier’,  ‘Education’, ‘Useful Purpose’ and ‘Real Educational Environment’. We all know about the word exam. Defining it in my words- It’s the occasion when a student is made to be measured. Measured not by weight but by his knowledge. There is a question that – Does exam measure a student’s knowledge? The question is not simple to answer. Simply when a student is sitting and writing in his answer sheet, he is writing from his own knowing. Isn’t it? Not all the time. Most of the time there is a bound syllabus before the exam and the question is also from the given books! I faced a story that a first boy of class was once asked what does he feel about math! What math is all about! The reply was very bookish like: it helps us counting, our daily life measurements etc. But there was nothing from his enthusiasm. Here is a fault of the regular exam system. It only teaches us to think like prescribed ways. But It’s not bad to give a syllabus because, knowledge is a infinite realm. The more you go, the more you find its magnitude. Questions from a very rare sect of knowledge which a student never heard of, can never measure his potential. So syllabus is just a reflection of the sects which needed to be learnt. But fault is in questioning system. When the question is just from the guide books and the texts, so it is obvious to become nothing fruitful. As a result, a saying became true- “ Exams measure memory not learning.”

Okay, let’s agree that one day we’ve solved those problems.  

But what about fear and anxiety? Exams create a great mental pressure in our brains. During the exam days a student becomes like a old stick by his body and mind. Very much week and depressed. I think there was a thought behind this like that- When this exam systems didn’t arrive, the mass public were illiterate. Among them some genius came, but it is not the balance. For balance they invented a system like this which by the power of fear and anxiety makes the student to read and at least become a ‘literate’ person. But at the end of the day it is like dependency. But there is a rule of creativity – the Indepence. Independency brings all great. From the time being, we can see that those who made something astonishing were very much independent. Independent in their thought, knowledge, wisdom etc. From Plato-Aristotle, Euclid, Ibn Sina, Aryabhata to Ramanujan, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and more other genius human beings all were independent. And for centuries we can’t find any single person like them. What is the reason behind this? The dependency. The dependency of certificates, dependency of a good mark, dependency of getting goodsaying of others.

And these mental dependencies in our growing generations are created only by a exam centered education system.

But the theory of exam is necessary yet. The main theory of examination is to examine the student’s ability. It is like the “Necessary evil’ of the education system. Because it is impossible to check out a student’s ins and outs of his education without a examination. But problem is- it creates fear-anxiety. Actually, exam itself never creates fear and anxiety. It is whole education system which makes exam to create a fear in the student. Here exam is a spokesman only. So, there is nothing wrong with the exam theory but the problem is in the wrong implementation. The exam is used in a bad way and in a bad sect of system. So, it can not be said generally that exam within itself a barrier to education. It should be said that, the exam with a wrong and fear creating education system is obviously barrier to education and creativity.

Coming to the next argument that exam can serve anything good or not with a good education system alias real educational environment. The scene in the highest ranked universities is something like that. Those aren’t examless. But the exams are implemented very nicely there. We can consider the highest olympiads’ systems. There is also an examination but there it is like a joy festival. But there a question arises- In the olympiads there is also a rush to get a medal! And the main fact is – there are only a few amount of students with very much talent. But Can it be generalized? Answer is slightly yes and slightly no. The positive answer is because for a huge number of students it can be handled by a sufficient number of teachers or mentors who know all the sides like the mentality and ability of his students, how to set a question for measure all the abilities of student at a time etc. But it won’t be sufficient in our country and a generation should be grown up who are familiar with the whole situation either it will remain only by names. There are also village side schools and students, who are not familiar with this ‘elit’ level system. – for this the answer was negative. So there should something which can be generalized. And if all the problems stated above can be solved then a problem remains. That is the so much competitive mentality between each other which creates question-paper leak, cheating etc. Like Japan and other countries if this problem is solved then it can be useful. Let me elaborate it. Suppose, the exam is only taken for knowing the student’s progress. The result is not exposed publicly. With the result the teachers will work on to improve the student’s situation individually. If there is something like this then the exam can be useful a lot. If the word ‘Real educational environment’ defines the system like stated before then i will say yes, exams can impact usefully in a real educational environment

In conclusion, talking about the exam system, we must talk about the education system. So the whole education should be judged before judging the exam system individually. When the whole educational environment is not so gorgeous the exam will be harming the whole generation. When it is the system is changed and extra ordinary then exam will be a fun factor and will result something very smart. Till its a necessary evil.


Writer: A. H. M. Fuad