The Times of India | TNN | Updated: Dec 20, 2016 |
CHENNAI: Debates on the quality of state board school education in Tamil Nadu have often been long-drawn and inconclusive. With centum and aggregates in the high-nineties in the science stream, the advocates have had numbers on their side although the detractors questioned the plight of other high-scoring students thereafter. While most shine in the Class 12 exams, how they fare at college is seldom answered. That, though, lies here. According to data, sought through an RTI application, from the controller of examination of Anna University, nearly 50% first year students of the varsity’s affiliated colleges (non-autonomous) fail in their semester exams. Professors and educationists who monitor the university trends said nearly 90% of these students are from the state board. “Students of state board mug up and write Class 12 exams. There is little room to test their grip over concepts,” said educationist J P Gandhi. “At college, they must understand concepts as most questions are application-oriented. Students can’t adapt to the change,” Gandhi said.
Most students flunk engineering mathematics, physics, material science and engineering graphics papers, a professor of an engineering college in Coimbatore said. “Engineering mathematics, physics and material science are analytical subjects. Students have a hard time clearing these papers,” the professor said. Educationists have studied top-rung self-financing colleges and found that CBSE students have better prospects than TN board students. “I observed 10 students who were top scorers in state board exams and 10 with lower scores from CBSE. Eight of the CBSE students had better job prospects and overall score at the end of the course,” Gandhi said. While the state board versus CBSE debate will continue, professors at Anna University are seeking solutions. “Some self-financing colleges are working on these. For instance, a college invests a month in the first semester to brush up Class 11 lessons as they are crucial for engineering. Most schools skip these,” he said. Some colleges follow smart classroom format. “A 50-minute lecture is divided into three sections- 20 minutes for teaching, 15minutes for discussion and the last 15minutes for a quiz,” the professor said. That said, students from Tamil-medium schools need additional support. “The medium of instruction is English and it is difficult for students from Tamil-medium schools to cope. Colleges have to give academic support and psychological counselling so that they don’t feel dejected,” said the principal of a self-financing college in Coimbatore. To ensure that their faculty are up to the mark, some colleges are assessing teachers before asking them to teach. “We decide the subject teacher two months before the semester begins. The teacher is asked to take two or three classes and a panel of senior professors assesses them,” the principal said. – Courtesy