Govt ‘s plan to add MCQs leaves teachers, students divided


Is passing exams sole purpose of education : Principal

By Sneha T S

Students think that descriptive questions are better than MCQ questions for better scores.

The Karnataka government is planning to include 15-20 multiple-choice questions for the 2023 PU examinations to increase the pass percentage. But teachers and students stand divided over the proposal. 

According to an article published by the Deccan Herald, the government aims to improve the PU pass percentage to compete with CBSE and increase enrolment in higher education. This was discussed at a review meeting of officials of the Department of PU Education in the presence of minister B.C. Nagesh.

Prakash S, principal of Saint Philomena’s PU College, informed The Observer: “I reject that decision. Why are they even conducting public exams? Is passing examinations the sole purpose of education? I do not think that this is going to make any difference in the pass percentage, the students who have not studied or prepared properly are anyway not going to perform well. I am in complete support of descriptive questions. One has to study in depth to write descriptive answers. If such steps are taken, students will not understand the importance of public exams. Instead of taking such decisions, the government should think of conducting exams at the primary level so that students value public exams.”

Soujanya M, a PU student, said: “If we write long answers, at least we will get a few marks. Multiple choice questions can be confusing. You may get confused while choosing the correct answer. We have objective questions. Objective questions have never helped us to score better. That is not the case with descriptive questions. In the MCQ pattern, if a majority of your answers are incorrect, then you end up scoring nothing. If we write, we will get some marks.”

Jayashree Gowda, another PU student, said: “I am a bit confused. It can help us in getting marks which is good. While enrolling in colleges or universities grades does matter, a sudden change in the paper style will affect us. We will have to plan in such a manner that we can score better marks.”

Student A Deepali said: “It all depends on the subjects. In the case of subjects like mathematics or physics, if we do not know the answer, we will get marks for applying the concept and formulas, but if we choose the incorrect option, our one mark is gone.”

Manjunatha R.V., principal of Seshadripuram PU College, welcomed the proposal. 

“I hope they implement it. It is not that they have planned to conduct only multiple choice questions so it is fine. The question paper will be a good balance of objective and subjective questions. Having said that, I would not deny that CBSE students perform better than ours. Our students only have textbook knowledge. The government, instead of thinking about a pass percentage, should think about better infrastructure and facilities for school students. This will ultimately help them to compete with other board students.”
Pooja Krishna, an education expert, said: “The decision may have been taken after a research. A lot of academicians may have reviewed it before. Students need not study descriptive answers for clearing concepts. Most of them go for coaching classes. They have other resources too to get a better and clear understanding of the concept. Exams are not needed for that.”

Karnataka has 2,084 PU colleges. The PU pass percentage in the academic year 2020 was 61.88, while CBSE‘s was 88.78.  All PU students were mass-promoted in the academic year 2021 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

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