Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
by: Ursila Ali
A year ago, on the same day, I remember myself as a frigid mass, blanched by fear, not unlike the character of a Tim Burton movie. I was awaiting my 12th standard CBSE Boards exam result…in short my death sentence.
The moment, before your computer screen reveals your scores, is amidst utter chaos, a frightened mother takes to religious chanting in your ears, your father might become impatient with all the waiting and scold you for botching up entering the roll number, if you have a younger sibling, consider an eternity of mockery filled in that one hour.In this confusion you do somehow let senses prevail and find a way to enter the correct roll number finally (no matter your heart will beat right out your chest or how your guts just seem to involuntarily knot themselves in the pit of your abdomen).
You wish this would end swiftly.
As the page loads, you imagine yourself singing Eye of the Tiger or I will survive (choose one).in my moment of imagination, I was at God’s feet begging, my whole student life rushed as a flash before my eyes..i saw myself as the next Indira Nooyi at the same time I saw myself as a useless tramp on a station platform…and I thought to myself what bull! Opened my eyes and there it was RESULT: PASS.
If it were up to me I would have jumped, screamed, danced wild like Patrick Swayze if I could. That is if you were content with just a ‘pass’. You now realize that your percentage is a vital part of that result too,the worst is yet to come. Look at all the digitized numbers, chant a slow prayer and trust addition and long division like you haven’t ever before.Then when the final numbers arrive, decimals and all, a quarter of a second is spent on introspection: what now? Am I the next Nooyi or the tramp on the station platform?
The feeling is yet to sink in, you made it alive through high school, damn it u survived the CBSE board! A year later you are in college, thinking how badly you were cheated, how the CBSE blackmailed you and ten years you were patiently bearing the torment.
You enter a CBSE affiliated school only to be reminded how boards are a defining part of your life. That Boards would determine the direction of your career curve. The reason why little kids were taught to cut each other’s throats (well figuratively) in the name of competition!
The Boards , a Frankenstein created by the CBSE, was my glimpse of hell and I doubt that anybody on this peninsula would disagree…what was started as a tool of empowering young minds soon became a tedious, most repulsive form of examining progress. At least to me.
I wish no more to divulge in the details of this torture, rather conclude by mentioning some reforms influenced by the Finnish education system (touted as the best in the world):
Focus less on exams, and more on learning,
Focus more on teacher education, and less on centralized content/cuuriculum.
Focus less on investing on flowers and big buildings, and more on equipping educators and students with the learning tools needed to transform the way they learn.
It may seem I have exaggerated my hate towards the CBSE to a great extent, however if the education system in this country fails to reform, I may have to educate my children in Finland