Ar. Abhishek Kumar
Assistant Director, Delhi Development Authority
Why open book exams should be encouraged…
An open book exam is a type of assessment where the students are allowed to refer books,notes,study materials or even internet during the assessment.This is different from the traditional methods of exams where students are expected to memorize the syllabus and recall it on the day of examination.
In the present scenario of our country, India, there is a need to change our examination system. Its time to switch over to open book examination. Students of lower class may be exempted of this for some particular subjects.
Foundation of the current education system…
Our educational system is still producing mainly rote learners,the foundation of which lies in our traditional system of exams.Actually, the traditional educational system which we follow now, has its origin in the the British age.The British mostly wanted educated Indians for doing the low level clerical jobs as the higher officer level jobs were mostly reserved for the British.
So, they created an educational system which produced only low level clerks and other office staffs. Staffs who could memorize well, who have good handwriting and will serve as yes man like good children. They should also be able to follow the order of their British officers without even thinking. In other words, the British never wanted that the Indians should be able to develop their own independent thinking.
To achieve this, they created schools where a large number of students can sit and study together and be trained to do low level office works.When people are part of a crowd, they are not able to develop their independent thinking easily.The people were trained to become rote learners so that they would be able to memorize the important office works.
A good memory of staff would ensure that the British officers may not miss any important works or waste time in searching for some information.Not only this, it will also lead to the destruction of the ancient Gurukul system of India, because the jobs in office would be made available only to these trained and educated students.
Benefits of open book exams…
Students will be able to develop independent thinking by having examinations with books. Some people may feel that this will encourage copying in examinations, but it is not going to happen. It is because then teacher may say that the student has simply written directly from the book and not applied much of his mind, so the marks will be given less. This will encourage the students to answer in their own way and words after applying their proper thinking. Now, Every student’s thinking is different, so the answers will also be different. This will lead to new ideas.
Initially, the teacher may prepare the question paper in the traditional way. Going forward, they will also feel pressure to ask such questions, which students have to do independent analysis to answer. It is because the answer to such questions cannot be found directly from the books just like the real world. In real world, In spite of having all the books, we have to solve the problems using our intelligence taking reference from the books. Assessments should also be made like that.
An open book exam does not mean that it will be easier as compared to closed book exams. In fact, the opposite may be true. An open book exam requires more skills like critical thinking, analytical ability, organisational skills etc. as compared to just the memorization skill required for closed book exams.
The open book examination system will lead to making the life of students less stressful. Rather than stressing on studying during the last few days of exam, the student will be forced to study for the whole session and grasp the concepts properly.
By open book exams, I believe that the people of our country would be able to develop an independent thinking,leadership and technical skills.This will enable them to be torchbearers of the society and not just rote learners.