I believe that abolition of class X exams is a welcome measure and is a progressive reform of school education. It reduces stress and enables the student to focus on learning rather than being prematurely weighed down by career concerns at a time when their minds are not yet ready to make mature personally appropriate choices.
I do not believe abolition of this exam will make any student dull or reduce his or her chance of getting into professional institutions, such as medical colleges or IITs.
A good student can only gain from a liberal and non-threatening educational programme and process. Learning and performance are linked to personal motivation and a supportive learning environment rather than compelled by a dreaded exam.
However, the absence of an exam does not mean a let-up in the pace of learning. It should provide for seamless educational effort on the part the students as well as the school. It will also provide more time for students, teachers and parents to carefully consider a range of career development pathways, based on a better assessment of aptitude and ability over a longer time, rather than rushed choices one may regret later.
What qualities do we wish prospective medical students to have? I would like an MBBS student to have a broad-based liberal education that combines an interest in the sciences with empathy for the social dimensions of health, a value system that combines altruism and compassion with ethical conduct and an enquiring mind that stimulates self-directed learning and analytic thinking.
The author is a professor of cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences and currently on a deputation as president of Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi. He is also president, National Board of Examinations (PG Medical) and Bernard Lown Visiting Professor of Cardiovascular Health at Harvard University