Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday justified the scrapping of the Class 10 board examination, saying the government was trying to evolve a system where a child's performance is tested in a wholesome manner and not just from books.
"To ascertain the performance of the child, he or she must go through a continuous process, spread the breadth of the horizon of knowledge and move beyond text books,” he said after inaugurating the 19th World Book Fair at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
The minister was replying to a question posed by his former teacher and historian Irfan Habib that he could not understand why the Class 10 board examination was done away with.
Sibal said: “As a boy, I was brought up on the knowledge found not in text books but far beyond it - to allow continuous discourse to take place in my mind.”
"Knowledge is a form of communication and a child must absorb it and challenge it. And books are a form of understanding that plethora of knowledge.”
The senior government leader said that “whenever we talk of universities, we talk about engineering colleges, medical colleges and science universities”.
"But what India really needs is the world class liberal art university, which has nothing to do with science, but focuses on social sciences, developmental economics, English literature, History and contemporary issues that confront the country,” he added.
The nine-day day book fair, organised by the National Book Trust (NBT), has 35 foreign publishers exhibiting books from 15 countries.
Spread over an area of 42,000 square metres, the fair has 2,400 stalls and 1,199 participants, besides representation from international bodies like the ILO, WHO and the Unesco.