When we say that educational standards are declining what we mean is that they are not what they used to be twenty, thirty or fifty years ago. The decline and fall of educational standards cannot be measured in a vacuum. They have to be assessed in the context of social values existing at the time. More often than not people say that the quality of education is going down day by day.
1. Educational standards should be viewed in their social context. Pass percentages do not tell the whole story.
2. Causes of mass failure:
(a) Overcrowding in institutions.
(b) Gap between teacher and taught.
(c) Lack of excellent teachers and effective-teaching-strategies
3. Unsatisfactory examination system:
(a) Students-degree oriented.
(b) Prefer to cram and depend on help books and guides.
(c) Defects of two-year course.
Let us have a look at the available data. The percentage of students passing the Matriculation examination is roughly 45 and that of intermediate and B.A. is 25 and 20 respectively. These figures hardly tell us real story of falling educational standards.
The causes of mass failure of students are many and it would be worthwhile to look into some of them.
The first relates to the quality of educational institutions “The number of students in each class in schools and colleges is increasing every year. The gap between the teacher and the taught is widening.
There was a time when a teacher knew the names of all the students in the class. Today such a thing would be considered a rare feat of memory. All agree that trained and experienced teachers play an important role in the education of students.
Where is such a band of dedicated teachers to come from? The teaching profession is quite unattractive and few people dare join it. They prefer more lucrat.ve jobs to that of the Shepherd’s trade.
A low paid teacher will welcome give his best to his work. Moreover, frequent transfers also tell upon his nerve. He takes time to settle in a new atmosphere ancient adapt himself to it.
Sometimes schools and colleges have to go without teachers owing to administrative delays. Sometimes teachers themselves are not interested in their work and are fonder of extra – academic activities.
The existing examination system also contributes to the decline of educational standards, A marathon test after a two-year period of study raises quite a few problems of its own. The student becomes degree- oriented and is not motivated by the desire to acquire knowledge.
It also tempts the students to go in for a crash course of cramming and book learning. The stress obviously is on memory and not on intelligence or independent thinking.
Students pass most of the two-year period in a leisure fashion and then gird up their loins for a last fling with the help of guide- books and sure- shot success formulae. In the process they do not even care about attending their classes regularly.
The situation becomes all the more serious when we think of the many corrupt practices inside and outside the examination hall.
Cheating is rampant in many centers. Students become so used to cut and dried methods that anything even slightly out of the ordinary rouses anger and protest. If a question paper deviates from a popular guess paper, it is at once considered to be out of course’ i.e. not in accordance with the syllabus.
The guess work industry’ exploits the poor student community and has done much harm to the educational pattern of the country. The system of passing examination by parts also tells upon the standards of education. It makes students ease loving and also wastes their precious time in the process.
Extraneous political interference has also added its bit to distract the student from his serious pursuits. Students’ unions fall an easy prey to such political exploitation.
Rival political groups of students clash within the campuses and are responsible for various acts of violence. They do not realize that outside agencies are playing with their careers for their own private gains.
They incite students to go on strikes, create disturbances, take out processions, rebel against lawful authority and demand repeated postponement of examinations.
Lack of parent-teacher contact is also a factor in the decline of academic standards. Parents remain ignorant about the conduct and progress of their wards.
Frequent parent-teacher contact can keep the students on their toes because they will then know that here are people interested in their future who are keeping a strict watch on their activities. Without parental interest many a student goes astray.
Decline in educational standards can be contained if the following measures are taken:
(a) Teaching profession should be made more attractive.
(b) Number of students in each class should be limited.
(c) The pattern of examination should be modified so that emphasis is on intrinsic worth rather than
(d) Guess papers should be banned.
(e) Parents and guardians should be associated with the process of education.
(f) Parent-teacher associations should be formed.
(g) Syllabi should be purposeful and degrees should have some relationship with job opportunities.
(h) Agencies to gauge students” potential and provide vocational guidance should be instituted.
(i) Government policies on matters of education should be clear-cut.