19 Sep Winds of Change: A comparison between online and offline modes of examination
We have often heard people say the only thing constant in this universe is change. The world we live in is nothing like the one our ancestors called home. The passage of time has made mankind smarter and the quest for a successful life has become war. Every single one of us is soldiers in this war. We do not do it for honor or pride or glory. We do it for survival in an age when the basic necessities tread into the realms of luxury and social standing goes beyond having strong ethics. Time has turned us all into ruthless monsters, fiercely competing for supremacy.
A determinant of an individual’s ability or the apparent lack of it, to build a future for himself are the scores he secures in the various examinations he is made to appear for. These examinations or tests can actually make or break a person; at least that is what over enthusiastic geriatric folks, pot-bellied uncles with betel leaf stained teeth, menopausal aunties and a few swollen headed cousins who a little while ago had cleared some lame tests to say. What is life without a few bumps in the form of lethal examinations!
Considering that technology has become the sine-qua-non for today’s world, it is no surprise that examinations too have begun resorting to it. Most of us grew up in an era when computers were relatively new and academics always revolved around pen and paper. (We have graduated from parchments and quills used by our ancestors!) And just a few years ago, a new mode of examination emerged. These are what we call the computer-based or online examinations.
The generation that never saw the 90’s is comparatively more tech-savvy and really knows their way around gadgets a tad better than we or our senior generations do. They certainly have an edge over us when it comes to operating smartphones, i-pads, tablets and other gadgets that have flooded the markets for a while now. Besides, a naked disparity in this regard is induced due to the environment one grows up in as it is no secret that rural areas which lack even basic amenities like proper sanitation are way behind when technology is concerned. With several important, career-defining examinations now becoming computer-based comes with its own set of pros and cons and my on-and-off affair with contemporary research tells me that you can always argue from both sides of any situation.
It is a basic human psychology to respond better to familiar things as anything relatively new becomes an acquired taste; the one you could make do with but wouldn’t prefer if given the conventional option. Hence, for many people born and raised in the last century when computers were not as mainstream as they are now, the traditional pen-and-paper brings the tranquility we seek while appearing for what could be the most important test of our life. However, for the generation who never saw alarm clocks and never played Super Mario, it is as simple as turning a page of a magazine. Examinations are scary enough already and online tests often trigger fear psychosis in the minds of some people.
On the brighter side, however, online tests prove to be tremendously environment-friendly. One would be flabbergasted at the ridiculously large amount of paper these tests save. A technological breakthrough that benefits the environment is as rare as a phoenix in real life and this mode of examination actually fits the bill. It reduces the manpower required at exam centers for simple tasks like distributing, collecting and arranging as per the serial number of answer booklets and question papers as a candidate can access his questions and submit his responses with a click of a button. It significantly lowers human effort otherwise necessary.
The world evolves with the blink of an eye and the only way to stay relevant is by going with the flow and adapting oneself to it. Technology has made life simpler than it used to be and it is of vital importance to learn how to operate it on a day to day life. To excel and to succeed, talent or hard work alone is never enough. One needs to acquire the basic skills necessary to utilize talent and productively channelize hard labor. Sticking to how things used to don’t get you anywhere. To live in the present and create a stable future, it is absolutely essential to learn the ropes, develop and polish necessary skills.
Now that technology is made available to most educational institutions, an enormous chunk of the population shall have access to it but instead of relying on the authorities or the government, every right-thinking person should make efforts on his part to accumulate those skills for personal gain as well as for the benefit of those around him. After all, how do you expect a nation to progress if you as an individual do not do what is vital to your own development?