From analysing the ridges and undulations on children’s fingerprints to activating their ‘mid-brain’, some schools in Mumbai are opting for unconventional tests to assess children’s aptitude and skills. While, schools are asking parents to choose whether to allow children to take these tests, educationists and mental health professionals have questioned the veracity of these methods.
Rizvi Springfield School, (SSC and CBSE )Bandra has recently introduced Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligences Testing (DMIT)-a computer-generated assessment of the child’s learning styles and intelligence potential, based on their fingerprint pattern. This is coupled with homeopathy consultation and career counselling.
Explaining how it works, Dr Trupti Barchha, consulting homeopath and DMIT consultant and analyst, who has partnered with the school for the project, said, “There are codes on each line on our fingers. When we feed the codes into the software we generate a report on the inborn intelligence, learning styles , creativity and emotional quotient of the student.”
The school said that they will offer the facility to interested students. “The tests will help in identifying the personality of the students. You can determine whether they will become an engineer or a doctor,” said Savita Suvarna, principal of the school’s SSC section. Those registering for it will be charged Rs3,750 to Rs4,125, according to the registration form.
Similarly, some of the students of VIBGYOR High School, Goregaon also took the test in 2015. “Some of our students have taken the DMIT, their parents told us that it helped them to focus on their strengths,” said Shim Matthews, principal of the school. “But we have not offered it as I think it still needs a lot of scientific research.”
Another fad to hit schools is brain activation. Kalyan’s Arya Gurukul, had conducted a workshop on ‘mid-brain activation’, which allegedly unleashes hidden potential in the child and helps balance the capability of the left and right side of the brain.
But child psychologists and development specialists said that such tests are clinically unproven. “We were approached by DMIT consultants a couple of years ago but we weren’t convinced by it,” said Tejal Dave, counselling psychologist and head of human resource development department, Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli.
Adding that paper and pencil tests are more appropriate to assess children’s aptitude, Dave said, “There is no research and background on fingerprint analysis. We advise aptitude and personality tests to our parents.”
The Indian Academy of Paediatricians (IAP) suggested licensing of all kinds of testing by the government so that parents are not misled. “There are a lot of such tests in the market and parents are confused over their authenticity. The government needs to come up with a strict regulation so that only scientifically backed assessments can be carried out,” said Dr Samir Dalwai, president of the IAP and developmental paediatrician, New Horizons Development Centre.