Madhvi Chaudhary is a Public Relations Manager by profession with a PR agency based out of New Delhi, that focuses on innovative ideas, fact-based communication strategies, consistent brand messaging and measurable results. She is a masters graduate in Computer Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, USA. Along with her current priorities, she stands as a block chief for the young women’s division of the Bharat Soka Gakkai association and encourages all the young women to become invincible and live their youth undefeated by anything. Madhvi also writes blogs on the life philosophy she practices.
We are experiencing increased anxiety as a result of COVID-19’s violent return. In the midst of this upheaval, we’re also seeing a deterioration of “normalcy” in our educational system. Students, parents, and teachers are at a loss as board exams are cancelled or postponed throughout the country. Many of them, conditioned to assume that schooling is incomplete without standardised tests, may be concerned that, aside from the emotional anguish of the pandemic, these young students will lack what this hyper-competitive society requires: Willingness to participate in this exam brawl.
This breakdown of “normalcy,” on the other hand, could cause us to reflect and ask troubling questions: Is it possible to treat the ritualization of standardised assessments and examinations as the ultimate substance of education? Is there more to a learner’s life than the methodology of learning test strategy or the competitive desire to be labelled a “topper”? Surprisingly, this issue has taken on new meaning in the midst of a profound existential crisis.
Because of the magnitude of the Covid-19 economic downturn, it is now more important than ever to look into the relationship between curricular activities and socio-economic systems in order to ensure that exams do not exacerbate educational disadvantage.
Curriculum is commonly thought of as a means for regulating and adapting contemporary educational programmes to the needs and patterns of society. Despite the loss of livelihoods, food, and shelter – exacerbated by educational deprivation and institutionalised by neoliberal changes – most policymakers have been reluctant to reconsider post-pandemic education. The present scenario forces one to reconsider the definitions and aims of education from a socio-historical viewpoint, in order to better understand how issues of equality and justice, as enshrined in India’s Constitution, can be incorporated into curricula and pedagogical approaches.
Fear, envy, and a superiority/inferiority complex are all products of this exam-driven schooling. It legitimises hyper-competitiveness as a way of life in certain ways; it is fundamentally opposed to the spirit of reciprocity, symmetry, and cooperation. As a result, it’s “good” goods — the group of “toppers” and “gold medalists” — are egoistic. We do not encourage our children to learn the art of relatedness, modesty, a sharing ethos, or faith in the inherent possibility and uniqueness of each human soul. Instead, they are taught to be warriors in school. It wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to suggest that the type of exams we’ve come to expect are the most heinous form of violence we inflict on the minds of young children.
The most pressing issue facing us today is how we can create a culture that allows us to reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the pluriverse; helps us transcend our fears and insecurities that have kept us passive and politically apathetic; and fosters a sense of unity, fraternity, and social justice through compassion and empathy.