India has exam system, not education system: CN Rao

The head of Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, C.N. Rao has written a letter to the Prime Minister drawing his attention towards the faulty education system in the country. In the letter, Rao has touted various multiple entrance exams as a menace and asked for a single common entrance test to replace it. Rao has recommended the American method of holding one national exam before joining any university

Putting it bluntly, Rao told the PM that India is said to “have an examination system but not an education system… When will young people stop taking exams and do something worthwhile?”

Referring to the exam overdrive, Rao informed Manmohan Singh about various levels of entrances,  “It is important to relook the entire examination system including the system of final examinations, entrance examinations, qualifying examinations, selection examinations, and so on. Now one hears of a proposal to have a qualifying or accreditation examination for medical graduates and post-graduates.”

Rao has cited the example of pressure of entrances like Joint Entrance Examination conducted by IIT, he said, “IIT entrance exams have the reputation of being difficult and purposeful, but they have also had a negative effect on young minds. Young people suffer so much to succeed in these entrance exams, and in the process lose excitement in education itself.”

The lakhs who don’t make it across the IIT gates, Rao told the PM, get exhausted and can’t perform as well as young people with fresh minds.

Scientific Advisory Council has prepared a 10-point checklist of key problems and challenges. It has asked the human resources development ministry to set up a taskforce to come up with an action-oriented document within a year.

“We should seriously consider a possible scenario wherein the young India advantage enables India to emerge as the provider of trained manpower for the entire world in the next 20-30 years. This could be a worthwhile national objective,” he told the PM.

Rao has asked government to provide upport to 10 educational institutions to enable them to compete with the best in advanced countries.There’s a manpower mismatch in many countries with too many professionals in some subjects. Prepare a vision document which foresees the problems 20 years. Increase the number of fully residential schools up to higher secondary level in rural India to nurture rural talent.

[Source: Times of India]

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62 thoughts on “India has exam system, not education system: CN Rao”

  1. I do agree with Professor C N Rao that we are having an examination system rather than an education system the latest example is the Teacher Eligibility Test conducted by CBSE where teacher has pass the test merely making teachers eligible or non-eligible for the post of elementary teacher. Isn’t it too crude for teachers that they have to passs numbers of test to prove their credit. First ,they appear in the exams being conducted by the different universities/Bodies at entry and exit level of teacher education programme. Second, they have to prove their worth once again by appearing in the competitive exam conducted by the different state selection boards or central selection boards.Now.this teacher eligibility test.I think goverment doesn’t have faith in their own education system.Moreover why teachers only? Right from IAS to PCS,bank employee to Section officers all have to appear only once exam for their job and it is the teacher who are being made scapegoat everytime. It is time to react. Either abolish all the exams related to teacher conducted by multiple bodies at various level and make Teacher Eligibility Test(state/Central) centralized and compulsory at entry level so that its basic objective of making quality teachers is fulfilled. Otherwise it will add to the frustations for teachers as it will not help them in getting employment rather making them more unemployed.

  2. I do agree with the comments of Professor C. N. Rao. Students of our society are more interested about the marks in the examination, than gaining knowledge. So successful (in terms of marks) candidates from universities are unable to do well in competitive examinations like NET, SET, GATE, IAS etc.

  3. Thank god! Is it possible in India where education has become a trading commodity. It would be distant dream to find a system free from the whole gamut of examinations from entry to exit. I f govt. considers Prof. Rao’s recommendations seriously fro betterment of the existing system, it is more reasonable to implement at P.G and Doctoral level where originality, creativity and innovation is essential. If student come with strong research proposal, institutes/ universities must act as facilitators for conducting research. There is no use of conducting Ph.D entrance and Pre-Ph.D exam when student is identified with lot of passion for research and adequate competencies to conduct research. Scientific temperament of a student must be identified based on research proposal submitted to the research committee. If the system adopts this, many potential researchers having possessed requisite research skill set may come forward to undertake research activities. Set the rules and regulations for facilitating the process but not hindering that.

  4. I do agree with the comments of Professor C. N. Rao. Students of our society are more interested about the marks in the examination, than gaining knowledge. No parents can disagree with what Prof. C. N. R. Rao has stated. It is indeed high time, wish the PM takes this advice seriously.

  5. I cannot agree with Prof. C.N.R Rao more on his views about the ‘mutiple exams’, bringing in a new paradigm that will not lead to the intellectual and emotional exhaustion of the young and the desirablity of establishing fully residential schools in the rural areas.
    The national ‘exit’ examination that the MCI is contemplating, however, merits serious consideration.

  6. Exams are the easiest way to create phobia which is exploited by vested interests. That is perhaps reason they are multiplying in number. Unless tuitions and coaching culture is pro actively discouraged, rot in education system will continue.Teaching community can’t sit on its laurels. It has to take bull by the horns and an environment of learning as enshrined in dictum: True learning is that which sets you free.

  7. I agree to this. Examinations are also followed by entrance examinations since the resulys are not trustworthy. An administrative degree is not sufficient for administrative service. If something has to be done to undo all prevailing, it has to be started from primary education.

  8. I completely agree with Prof. Rao’s views. We have some kind of mutual agreement between teacher and the students on regular examinations in the Universities. Learning and knowledge generation are not the priorities in our academic system. Students know that they have to get more marks to become elite within the system as well as in the society. Teachers know that they have to finish something that can make an examination.

  9. It’s easy to make any comment but in Indian perspective it may not be acceptable in various reasons like socioeconomic, political, judicial, quality, religious etc.etc.
    I like to mention some of the issues like can we make an one educational system through out the country? But we have made one currency through out the country. Is our education policy free from all sorts of political hindrances?
    Many of the 12th standard schools emphasize the regular attendance, practical and theory classes, above 75% attendance, but many more don’t follow a single procedure as said above. Rather those schools encourage the students to take coaching classes for competitive exams for professional courses like IIT-JEE, AIEEE, AIPMT etc. There is no control in this regards in any State Govts in the country. The Govt. and many aided schools scenarios are so pathetic, it is beyond imagination.

  10. In ancient education system in India rather every where the results were not in form of Pass and/or Fail. The student was given full opportuities to learn not only academics but all the aspects of life. After a particular duration he was sent back to ‘live’ without pass fail result, or degree. One has to prove himself by performance and not on the basis of marks gained in an instant examination.
    I request all to give a serious consideration to this and change the system accordingly.

  11. I agree to Dr. CN Rao totally. Let us say good bye to examinations and work out a proper continuous evaluation system without any pass or fail results.

  12. I agree to the suggestions of Dr. C.N. Rao. In addition we should look into the various related matters such as
    1. Uniform and standard education system at least upto 10+2 throughout the country. Students coming across substandard syllabus of various state govts. are not getting equal chance in competitive exams.
    2. Our nation should have uniform entrance exam policy for admission into various courses. People will less information are not getting equal opurtunity to admit themself in demanding subjects.
    India should maintain a website where all admission adv should appear.
    The serious matters like this should not be put into the hands of State govts. This kind decision in nurturing human resource will tell us where we should be standing in coming years.

  13. i completely agree with M. CN Rao. adding further to what he said i feel that our education (read examination) system is memory based rather then learning based. i feel that the opinions of the students have never been taken into consideration while making policies…

  14. I became delighted to read the article…..India has exam. system not evaluation system by C.N. Rao. One common exam. system should be prevailed to take admission in the Indian university. Evaluation is something more than the examination. It includes quantitative description, qualitative description and value judgement…..but in the exam. system we never do the qualitative assessment nor the value judgement. Both central and state administration should think seriously about the gravity of the issue. The education experts are also think over it.

  15. Yes, prof. C. N. Rao’s views are commendable. Learning has to more emphasized than a grade alone. But unfortunately, mosts of our selection system do take a note of the grades (without knowing how the grades vary). We have lots of selction committees to reject rather than to select candidates who really have the passion and interest. All other criteria take the front seat while the attaitute and passion and ability take back seat. Exntracnce and brand have beeen trated as a ticket to success rather than the real learning caapbility. Even thoight many Indians have taken note of this issue earlier, nothing really has been achieved. It is high time that an eminent personality has taken note of it and I beleive something really new is on the anvil. The is inded an welcome step towards reforming education and create real educators rather than certificates and awardees.

  16. It is a good proposal and is being talked about for one year but there is no progress on the ground.
    The PMO or such a competent body may ask MHRD to constitute a Committe of experts to examine the issues and make recommendations for policy. It is also pertinent to consider admission norms in PG classes. It is known that in most Universities, admission in PG levels is done with preference to local candidates ( graduates of the affiliated colleges ) which is a system full of breeding of mediocrity and absence of academic merits / considerations. A state-level entrance test for admission in PG claases in any discipline save and except those with national entrance tests ( like in Bio-technology ) shoiuld be put in place.

  17. It is irony that person known as prof. CNR rao who is adorning several administrative position with Govt is now realize the folly of present exam system and need to avoid multiple exam. It is matter of shame that person holding such a top chair got wisdom and now realized the need of a new system. This is sufficient to gives us a picture that when a top notch scientist and academician is taking 20 years to feel the need of change then what will happen to ordinary professors and teachers. It is high time that we should get rid of this kind of Luminary whose learning runs 20 years late.Let the space occupied by such people are to be taken by a more dynamic and young talents so that such a late realizations would have to be overcome. Not only that these guys are holding all important positions in Govt of India with regards to Science and technology and one can clearly imagine how much damage they might have done to this country’s knowledge growth.
    It is irony that after 60 years of Independence we are still barking on past glory and not being able to evolve a comprehensive system of education, exam, and directions for science and technlogy. Such a massive change is attutude can only come when we have new leaders who may be more interactive and less bureacratic and have no inclinations to hogg media attention. our system by not falling into pray of such hawks who enjoyed everything under the Govt banner and their actual contributions is to place their own people at different important positions put whole system into a brigade of one man army.

  18. Sir, I express my sincere respects to your vision and mission. No doubt it is very much needed to control the duplicated universities/institutions started by politicians, mega power lobbies etc. When the govt it self is controlled by these people, is it possible to control these institutions and what the prime minister can do? as he needs the votes to save the govt.
    Please join hands with NGOs and dedicated persons to bring some change what you wish to benefit the future generations by initiating a Foundation in imparting Science and technology at school level.

  19. Sir,This is a true statement and a very good observation of education/ examination system in India. It is only testing how much one can remember to put it on the papaer during exams, without any emphasis on the originality/ creativity , application or understanding the subject.Not only entrance exams, but also newly introduced CCE in the CBSE affliated schools, making teachers and students very busy in maintaining record work and testing process continuously, without any freedom to think or learn. Our previous education system has produced intellectual work force all over the world, but now this is also at stake by merely imitating western education system at school level, now.

  20. A brilliant observation indeed. We are sill under the veil of colonial mindset.
    The nation should be able to foster the future brigade like young Jeevaka of iconic Nalanda University. We should be able to embed Indian value system into the education scenario.
    I think the name of the Advisor is CNR Rao.

  21. All I want to say is that I wasn’t born and raised in India. I’m Canadian. Suddenly my husband and I decided to leave US last year and go to India, thinking India would be good for our daughter.


    The schools were so bad there. All year round they did nothing but kept on giving her repetitive homework all year round, and she wasn’t really learning anything. That to we supposedly sent her to a “great” school.

    It made me so angry when I saw that they had copied all their textbooks from Canadian textbooks and were passing it off as their own. Then telling me we Westerners don’t know how to study”

    Phonics is something new to India. My husband in spite of being a Masters graduate in Engineering doesn’t know the sounds of his letters, doesn’t know the basics of phonics

    Because in his time India didn’t have all this. Now India wants to copy countries like Canada and US, and they don’t know how to implement it. The teachers there find it awkward, they don’t teach music art, and encourage creativity.

    Everything has to be same same.

    I didn’t like it that I couldn’t even figure out what was the last r and first day of her school, and no proper communication from the teacher’s side. BUT THEY WILL TAKE OUR MONEY GLADLY.

    There is loads of information coming at the student and just because they sit down and do hours of homework, doesn’t mean the student is studying efficiently and is smarter. They don’t encourage individuality, and its like a rat race from the beginning. There is a difference between knowing volumes of information and actually understand and learning it.

    The students in India in my opinion are not very learned. I did not want this for my daughter and I pulled her out and brought her back to one of the best countries in the world, which is Canada, because we do very well in our system on math, reading and science. I wouldn’t go back to US, because their system is very bad, and unfortunately I found out the hard way that contrary to lots of Indians boasting and being proud of their education system IT IS ALL LIES.

    I give 2 thumbs down to Indian education system. The pollution also didn’t help, maybe all that pollution is destroying all those precious brain cells, that’s why India is a country of EDUCATED FOOLS!

    What good is education if it can’t improve you.

    They need to learn from Canadians what good students are.

    I should know I worked there as a teacher, and I know what shit I was up against. A kid can orally spell 1-100 literally but can’t even spell his name and write a sentence properly.

    When I brought my daughter back to Canada, the teacher said she doesn’t understand and comprehend her English very well. EVEN THOUGH SHE IS US BORN.

    Basically the school I sent her to school in India, DIDN’T DO THEIR JOBS PROPERLY. EVEN THOUGH I WAS SPENDING HOURS ON HER AT HOME. They robbed us of our money.

    India in my opinion is one of the worst education systems in the world.


  22. sir
    why after seven deaths in IIT all focus has been made to IIT India students appear for written entrance as NET for being assistant professors, after that as in U.P. AGAIN SIT FOR WRITTEN EXAM for fullfilling vaccancies as lecturers in lok seva ayog or higher education deptt, then faces interview,besides it a student sit in joint bed entrance exam then bed exams after that in TET EXAMS then in higher tet exams .if one has to go in tgtbwill first give bed entrance exam then bed exam then has to give written tgt exam and then has to face interview.Then why all focus on iit or medical exams only.Did any educationa system can survive without teachers,then why not government or educationust sitting at higher posts thought about it,. It is the misfortune of this country taht teachers are worshipped but not respected, celebrates teacher day but not have status.

  23. I do agree with you sir.
    I am doing my engineering at a well renowned college from tamilnadu. i can see that there are two kinds of students here. first one is well studying and getting high scores and the second one are not scoring much but knowledged somewhat practically and they can come up with innovative ideas in projects. its very rare that a innovative person getting high marks, as in the movie 3 idiots.
    i regret for mrs.Kiran for her frustration about india.
    i finished my schooling in through state board syllabus, i got over 90% at my school. i have joined our college and doing very well in my studies.
    my problem is that i really want to do something in research areas of computer engineering and i m lacking in my basics math and English communication. also i don’t know the basic practical science applications and becoming a research scholar is impossible for me.
    i seriously cant do something about that.
    and my communication skills are way too low , as there is no training for the children to let them know how to talk. English is mandatory in engineering , i am somewhat learning in my career, but whaen i give some pdfs to my friends to read, they are really afraid to read and tell. they are sure that they cant.
    one more problem is the students are not allowed to rise questions in the classes. The education system is like training monkeys to read and write. There is nothing creative here, except boycotting and vomiting.
    The students are unable to comprehend something, no skills are improved.
    I am a real sufferer of this system, and I realize this when I came to work with my European colleagues.

    I don’t know whether it was a mistake to be born in India,
    I don’t know when those so called reformations would take place, but if any parents are reading this post, try ur level best to admit ur child in an icse syllabus, or do a research to know which is the best syllabus here,
    Please don’t admit them in the state boards, it sucks.
    at least try for cbse syllabus, its going good.
    most of the Tamil medium students here are striving hard for getting a job, whereas the English medium guys gets their job just for their English skills.
    Those with creativity around me are becoming self-employed and they are happy in their life.

    Please don’t admit them in a state board and ruin them.

    Also, the schools here just teach, it’s you who should find the skill set of Ur son/daughter, be it music, painting, horse riding, swimming, cycling, singing, athletics, games, sports, poems or whatever.
    And its u who have to make him get the proper training about that.
    Don’t make Ur child blame you when he is grown.

  24. There is a need to create professional bureaucracy in the health and education sector, if we are looking at the problem 20 years ahead…The time has come to introduce two new All India Services viz. Indian Health Service and Indian Education Service…

  25. It has been said that the system mostly produces robots who possess an amazing capacity for storing facts and churning them out at the press of the right button. Qualities like independent thinking, problem-solving ability, initiative, leadership skills and social competence fall by the wayside as getting high grades becomes their only goal.

  26. We have Teacher’s council,Auto-rickshaw council and all sorts of council in every field where the head is the person belonging and working in that field….Why cant we students have an council…
    The thing is Students are not united…Posting the things on internet wont be enough…We have to make this a massive movement…Universities without students are waste….They should know that students are not puppets with which they can play…GO on a Student Strike……Don’t attend colleges…Ask for Change…….its time to get United….No more Students Suicides….and no more Dirty games played by College Professors………
    I am from Mumbai University and unfortunately the System has a very big massive Loop-hole in it….The Exam papers are not checked properly….Results are not Declared on time…..and after all this the students are actually being harassed in the name of marks…..
    We(Indian Students) need Help and Please Somebody should atleast take some initiative to do something and someone who has at a good designation……Please make this a mass movement so that we can even get Media as a platform of expressing the conditions of Indian Students…..

    Yours Thankfully
    Frustrated Indian Student