Published: 28th September 2022
Tamil Nadu: Common question paper for term exams for primary school students sparks concerns
As the National Education Policy (NEP) envisages common board exams for Classes III, V and VIII, some teachers said the move may be in line with the national policy
In a first, the Tamil Nadu school education department has started using common question papers in first-term exams for students of Classes IV and V that commenced across the State on Monday, September 26. According to officials, the system was introduced to ensure uniformity in assessing learning outcomes in students.
Usually, question papers are prepared only at the school level for primary classes, teachers said, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. A section of teachers said common question papers may not suit elementary school children. As the National Education Policy (NEP), which is opposed by the State government, envisages common board exams for Classes III, V and VIII, a few teachers said the move may be in line with the national policy.
"All three term exams have so far been conducted only with question papers prepared at the school level. When students are coming to schools after a two-year gap due to the COVID-19 lockdown, preparation of question papers at school level will help teachers assess children better," said S Mayil, State General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Primary Teachers’ Federation, as per The New Indian Express.
Concerns regarding the system
The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in a circular to Chief Educational Officers had earlier said the State-wide question papers will be sent to all districts in CD format and answers would be sent to schools after the exams are over.
"The intention that learning among students should be uniform is right. However, it can’t be done by conducting a State-level exam for primary classes as it will create fear of exams among children. If there is an attempt to introduce public exams in primary classes, our association will strongly oppose it. The State-wide assessment will also put differently-abled students at a disadvantage," said Doss, General Secretary, Elementary School Teachers' Association.
Officials of the school education department, however, said that this is not an attempt to introduce provisions of the NEP and they have addressed the concerns of the primary teachers regarding collecting question papers. "There is a plan to extend the Ennum Ezhuthum scheme to Classes IV and V and this might be considered as a baseline survey," an official said, as per The New Indian Express.
While we are trying various methods to attain sustainable development goals with respect to education, including training of teachers, nothing has been implemented so far, said another official.
Meanwhile, G Ramakrishnan, Politburo Member of the CPM, an ally of the ruling DMK, said there is no need to change the existing practice. "We welcome the State government’s move to form a committee to create a state education policy. However, when a centralised question paper is introduced, it naturally creates doubts in the minds of the people," he said.