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Friday, 30 March 2018

The Hindu Editorial : Testing Exam

mahendra Guru
The Hindu Editorial : Testing Exam

Title: Testing Exam

(The HRD Ministry must pull out all the stops to restore trust in the CBSE exam process)

ü  The Central Board of Secondary Education faces a serious erosion of credibility with the leak of its annual examination question papers on Economics for Class 12 and Mathematics for Class 10.

ü  Thousands of students are naturally frustrated that their best shot at these papers has come to nought; they must now make another strenuous effort in a re-examination.

ü  Clearly, the Ministry of Human Resource Development failed to assign top priority to secrecy and integrity of the process, considering that its standard operating procedure was easily breached, and the questions were circulated on instant messaging platforms.

ü  Yet, the problem is not new. State board question papers have been leaked in the past.

ü  When the HRD Ministry was asked in the Lok Sabha three years ago what it intended to do to secure the CBSE Class 12 and 10 examinations, Smriti Irani, who was the Minister then, asserted the inviolability of the process, since the question papers were sealed and stored in secret places and released to authorised officials with a window of only a few hours.

ü  In addition, the board has dedicated secrecy officers for each region. But the protocol has failed, and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar should conduct a thorough inquiry to get at the truth and initiate remedial steps without delay.

ü  One of the options is to institute a National Testing Agency, although it was originally supposed to take charge of entrance examinations in the first phase. State school boards also need help to reform systems.

ü  A major leak such as the one that has hit the CBSE raises a question often debated in academic circles: is a high-stakes test the best option? To some sociologists, the use of a quantitative indicator with rising importance for social decision-making makes it more vulnerable to corruption pressures, and distorts and undermines the very processes it is intended to monitor.

ü  Today, what is needed is a credible testing method to assess a student’s aptitude and learning. But the answer may lie not in one all-important examination, but in multiple assessments that achieve the same goal.

ü  Such an approach will end the scramble for high scores in a definitive board examination, and the exam stress that the government has been trying to alleviate.

ü  It will also limit the fallout of a leak. These and other options need to be debated by academic experts.

ü  More immediately, the CBSE has to restore faith in its processes. The board went into denial mode when the leaks were first reported, but subsequently decided to acknowledge the problem and ordered a fresh examination in the two subjects.

ü  In the current scheme, the annual exercise is all-important to students. Everything should be done to inspire total confidence in the board examinations.

Title: Kim in Beijing

(His visit strategically brings China into North Korea’s hectic diplomatic calendar)
ü  The timing of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to China, his first foreign trip after assuming power in 2011, is not lost on anyone.

ü  After travelling to Beijing this week in an armoured train, he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and re-emphasised his commitment to the “denuclearisation” of the peninsula, weeks before his scheduled April 27 summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

ü  By visiting Beijing now, Mr. Kim is sending a clear message: that he is serious about his offer of talks. The visit has also helped repair relations between Pyongyang and Beijing, which had come under some strain. China was not particularly happy with the North’s nuclear tests.

ü  And Beijing’s support for stringent UN sanctions on North Korea that have cut its exports of coal, seafood and other goods to China has dealt a blow to its already isolated economy.

ü  But now, both leaders appear to have decided to set aside their differences.

ü  Mr. Kim’s visit to Beijing has reinstated China’s central role in talks over the Korean crisis, which both countries see as mutually beneficial.

ü  Mr. Trump may have agreed to meet Mr. Kim. As of now, it is anybody’s guess what the U.S. would do next if the Trump-Kim summit fails to produce a breakthrough. In such a volatile context, robust multilateral intervention would be needed to stay the diplomatic course.

ü  The Xi-Kim meet could be a step in that direction if China agrees to be a balancing force and a facilitator of talks between the North and the U.S.

Vocabulary :
  • Erosion (noun) = The gradual destruction or 
  • diminution of something (कटाव) 
  • Nought (noun) = Nil (शून्य) 
  • Strenuous (adj) = Requiring great effort or exertion (ज़ोरदार) 
  • Integrity (noun) = Uprightness, honesty (सत्यनिष्ठा) 
  • Breach (verb) = Violation (उल्लंघन) 
  • Inviolability (noun) = Cleanness, purity (अनुल्लंघनीयता) 
  • Remedial (adj) = Intended as a cure (उपचारात्मक) 
  • Distort (verb) = Give a misleading impression (अशुद्ध दर्शाना) 
  • Apt (adj) = Suitable (उपयुक्त) 
  • Assess (verb) = To evaluate, estimate (आकलन) 
  • Scramble (noun) = A difficulty (संघर्ष) 
  • Alleviate (verb) = Reduce (कम करना) 
  • Fallout (noun) = The adverse result of a situation (विवाद) 
  • Strain (verb) = Force to make unusually great effort (तनाव) 
  • Stringent (adj) = Strict, firm (कठोर) 
  • Purge (verb) = Rid of an unwanted feeling or memory (शुद्ध करना) 
  • Predecessor (noun) = Ancestor (पूर्वज)

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