A record-breaking number (86.37%) of students came out successful at the SSC and equivalent exam this year. Achievers of GPA-5 also increased markedly this year. The Education Minister has rightly said ‘The record-breaking pass rating is an outcome of creative exam system and special caring incentives of the government’. No doubt, our boys and girls are meritorious and laborious and they try to give their full efforts in studies.
Creative questions were first introduced in two subjects of our SSC exam in 2010. The aim was it would enable the learners to improve their understanding power rather than memorising or rote learning. It was also expected that students would be discouraged in using so-called note and guidebooks, private tuitions, coaching centers etc. as these had been some of the obstacles to quality education system. Nowadays many people are of the opinion that through introducing creative exam system the quality of our secondary education has improved.
No doubt, quantitatively, it is right as passing rate and GPA-5 graders are increasing day by day. However, many academicians as well as education researchers argue that the quality of our secondary education is seriously questionable. They opine that without ensuring creative classroom teaching-learning activities, creative exam system will not bring any qualitative change in our secondary education system.
Creative classroom teaching-learning helps develop learners’ latent intellect and comprehensive inner faculties. Here teachers’ role is like a facilitator. Interpersonal relationship of the students and teacher is always excellent in a creative teaching-learning activity. With training in the use of alternative pedagogical tools, teachers must be exposed to different approaches of reaching students that go beyond the traditional and oft-used lecture method.
In an effective and creative teaching-learning environment, a participatory learner-centered method is practiced in the classroom. A well-thought-out lesson plan and relevant teaching aids are very important elements for a successful classroom teaching-learning activity. Learners’ motivation as well as class participation is usually high as joyful teaching-learning methods are applied in the classroom. Here, a teacher is always professionally committed and he/she always remain up-to-date in their subject through reading various journal, books, magazines etc.
However, no in-depth nationwide investigation has been conducted so far to identify the challenges of creative and effective classroom teaching-learning in our secondary schools. Nevertheless, findings from some academic research conducted by the research students and faculty members of the Dhaka University’s Institute of education and Research tell us that the overall standard of classroom teaching-learning activities in our secondary schools is very low.
Teachers usually practice traditional lecture method ignoring participator learner-centered classroom instructions. Any purposeful or joyful teaching-learning activity is hardly applied in the classrooms. Teaching materials are also not used in most of the cases. Even the blackboard is not used properly. Although many teachers have got training on creative question and exam system, they usually follow note or guidebooks while conducting their classes and setting question papers for the exam. Students also follow note or guidebooks for their exam preparation.
Actually, creative exam is a structured exam system that assesses learners’ domain-based learning outcomes. The principle of Educational Scientist Benjamin S. Bloom’s ‘taxonomy of education’ is followed in this regard. Unfortunately, we are failing to have real benefits through this creative exam system as creative teaching-learning activities in the classroom are being ignored. As a result, the over-dependence of our students on notebooks, guidebooks, private tutors and coaching centers is increasing day by day. What a paradox!
Secondary education is very crucial for our people as this is the preparatory stage for many students for higher education. Therefore, without ensuring creative and effective teaching-learning, creative exam system will remain elusive for enhancing the quality of our secondary education.