Devise New Mechanisms

Devise New Mechanisms
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One casualty of the volatile conditions that obtain in Kashmir has been a vital component of the education process: examinations. While much has been written about the impact on the education sector here, on account of volatile conditions, but there have been no real and substantive prescriptions about how to deal with the loss of momentum and seamless delivery of education, under given conditions. This, however, might be beside the point. Education, if it is disaggregated, is also a value chain with different nodes, where the right interventions are of vital import. Among these important nodes are exams which, pared down to essence, test and assess the knowledge levels and understanding of educations and then based on the results of exams, it is decided whether a given student can graduate to the next level or not. But, in the context of Kashmir, under conditions of great uncertainty and volatility, holding exams falls victim to these. The default reflex of educational authorities is to defer and postpone exams. This approach impacts the entire value chain of education (such is its critical import), to the detriment of students. It is incredible that educational authorities have not come up with any viable and robust alternatives. The question is: do these alternatives exist and if they do, are these viable? Yes is the answer to both these questions. The solution to the exam conundrum in Kashmir could be two pronged. One option that stares in the face is holding ongoing, “just in time”, continuous assessment of students, as part of education delivery, which could serve as inputs into the overall assessment of students. The other is devising a structure and process wherein students can take their exams at home. Take home exams are a time tested method in advanced countries, and at times, can be more effective than conventional exams. These exams can be (and are) structured in a way where cheating becomes impossible or so obvious that even an amateur can judge, whether a given student has taken recourse to cheating or not. In the final analysis, exams, given their very nature and import, are a vital component of the value chain. Exams also keep students motivated and ready. Disruption in exams has negative spill over effects on the entire value chain of education. It is then imperative that new mechanisms be devised on an exigent basis to deal with this nagging and pertinent issue.