NCTB’s horrible practical education framework
For high schoolers studying in the Science group under the NCTB curriculum, donning on white lab coats and tinkering with unknown chemicals in school laboratories isn't enough to ace the practical part of their core Science subjects. Instead, one has to miss out on practising experiments, owing to the often poorly equipped laboratories in most institutions, while enduring the crushing pressure of writing lab reports that are surprisingly more burdensome than the main lab work itself.
The question here is how such an important segment of the curriculum, crucial for establishing a primary understanding of scientific research and its hands-on application in youngsters, focuses more on bookish knowledge rather than practical knowledge? Does that not invalidate the whole point of it?
One of the main reasons behind this inefficiency is the mark distribution of the exams; 15 marks are allotted to demonstration and 5 marks each to viva performance and theoretical assignments. It may look like a fair evaluation system on the surface, but the execution is very faulty.
Firstly, most students barely get to participate in practising the required experiments owing to the lack of equipment and terrible condition of most school laboratories in the country. Even teachers and lab assistants don't always receive sufficient training in their respective arenas. As a result, when exams roll around, the 15 marks allotted to practical demonstrations are distributed solely based on a short, written exam on their theoretical explanations instead.
The oral exam, which should judge the quick wit and problem-solving abilities of examinees, often turns into an excuse for most teachers to show an unfair bias towards students who attend their coaching classes, which is a whole other issue.
Keeping these aside, the shortcomings of this framework become apparent when one takes a good look at the absurd amount of lab report assignments compared to the meagre amount of actual practical lab work carried out. In fact, so much emphasis is put solely on this that recently there has been a surge of obscure publications that sell guidebooks containing the solutions to all these assignments. As the syllabus for practical exams also remains the same for years, most students simply opt for copying everything down from these books and borrowed copies from seniors or finding active businesses or ghost-writers in Nilkhet who write it for them in exchange for a certain fee.
The situation is just as bad with other subjects included in the practical curriculum. Most ICT lab work, for instance, deals with the same topics of MS Word and Excel repeatedly throughout grades 6-10 with bare minimum additions each year, whereas it's a constantly evolving arena of computer science.
A practical education curriculum fuelled by our collective negligence towards technical learning is nothing but a failure. It's no surprise that many NCTB high school graduates, who pursue STEM subjects for higher studies, keep struggling with proper laboratory research work well into their undergrad due to the lack of basic skills which they should've learned in high school.
Hamama's problems smell like daruchini because she's dweep into them 24/7. Send help at [email protected]