Judging students based on a single admission test isn’t ideal
All stakeholders, including the honourable prime minister and the education minister, have raised concerns regarding the students’ mental growth. They have urged parents and school authorities to create a better environment at home and at school so that their creativity can flourish, enabling them to enhance their co-curricular activities.
Unfortunately, the system we are raising them through has no such scope. A moment of rest may leave one behind in this rat-race of education.
The government has been trying to overhaul the current system. As part of the process to cope with the world’s rapidly changing demands, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has added new books to the curriculum and changed the content of existing textbooks.
For instance, NCTB has introduced subjects like Kormo O Jibonmukhi Shikkha and Bhalo Thaka, which are ignored in school and board exams. Moreover, these subjects require rigorous qualitative assessment, which is also missing in the current testing procedure.
But who will invest their time in these subjects? All we see is what has the potential to make money, don’t we?
Considering co-curricular activities might be a significant step towards making our education system more effective. The change may begin at the tertiary level with the university admission process, which will eventually create a ripple effect and bring gradual change in other areas.
Benefits of co-curricular activities
1. If the authority considers co-curricular activities in the university admission process, those involved will be appropriately valued for additional skills and experience they might bring to the table.
2. Involvement in co-curricular activities will also enable students to learn different life skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and adaptability, which will increase their chances of success in their personal and professional lives.
3. No parent wants their child to face constant academic pressure and stick to studying all day. They enjoy seeing their children engaging in activities beyond the classroom. Unfortunately, the system is a significant hindrance to such expectations. Considering co-curricular activities might give the parents and students much-needed space to relax.
4. The nation has been witnessing a colossal rise in drug addiction among the youth. Involvement in co-curricular activities allows students to allocate more of their time in activities, decreasing their chances of getting into drugs.
The admission committee of the world’s top-tier universities sees the whole admission process as an expedition. Conquering a mountain is a tough job. There is an abundance of risks in every step anyone makes.
If all the members of the team have expertise in a single arena, that is problematic. Since the situation is unpredictable, different problems may arise, requiring different skill-sets.
For example, when the team is mentally broken, it needs a good leader who can motivate and recharge the members. If any team members are injured, the team needs someone good at first-aid.
Similarly, each country’s education system requires students from diversified backgrounds in order to achieve the nation’s goals. Unfortunately, in this regard, our existing system utterly fails. The current methodology measures students on only one parameter, the marks of the admission test. The consequences are obvious; many students remain unrecognized for their skills and abilities and are unable to enter the top universities.
Introducing a multi-layered university admission test could be the first step to solving this issue. Written exams would still be a part of it. Along with that, authorities may ask for essays on their respective field of co-curricular activities, incorporate viva and practical exams in the process, or require the submission of a letter of recommendation from someone who knows the candidate well.
There will remain scopes to manipulate the process but, regardless, the effort would be worth taking, considering the outcome.
Yusuf Munna is the founder of Reflective Teens and is currently pursuing a degree in development studies at Khulna University.