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ParikshaPe Charcha: A movement to create a stress-free atmosphere for youngsters

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By: Dharmendra Pradhan

The much-awaited 6th edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha (PPC) was held at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium on 27th January 2023 at 11 A.M.
Crores of students, teachers and parents across the country and abroad participated in this programme.
This year saw a phenomenal increase in registrations as around 38.80 lakh students, teachers and parents had registered for PPC 2023. Students from almost 150 countries, teachers from 51 countries and parents from 50 countries registered for PPC-2023.  This massive increase of over two and half times, primarily from students, teachers registered with various State Boards, clearly indicates the soaring popularity of this unique initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister.

In this edition too, participants got a chance to directly interact with the Hon’blePrime Minister. Many of you must be wondering about the intent behind this initiative for which the Hon’ble Prime Minister directly interacts with the students? So, let me answer that for you. PPC is a movement undertaken by the Hon’blePrime Minister with the vision of setting-up a stress-free eco-system for assessment and bringing together the students, parents, teachers, and society to celebrate the uniqueness of every student and foster their holistic development. Through this program, the Hon’ble Prime Minister interacts with the students and answers their queries on exam stress and related issues.

As you are aware exam stress is one of the most critical issues we are facing. It is normal to feel some stress about upcoming tests and exams. Indeed, a small amount of stress can challenge you and stimulate you to work harder. But exam stress becomes problematic when it interferes with the ability to perform and achieve your academic and learning goals. In such situations, both parents and teachers play a crucial role in the child’s life. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers, not to force their dreams on the students. It is important for every child to follow their own dreams.

Inspiring this movement is Hon’ble Prime Minister’s pathbreaking, bestselling book ‘Exam Warriors’ which is now available in 13different languages. Through this book, he has outlined a refreshing approach to education. Knowledge and holistic development of students are given utmost importance. He also urges everyone to put exams in the right perspective, rather than making it a life-and-death situation punctuated by undue stress and pressure.
While addressing the issue of how students should handle the demands of competitive exams and studying for the Board exams, the Prime Minister has often said that if one studies the syllabus with a full mind, then exams really don’t matter. He said one should aim to master the subject rather than clearing exams. He advised the students not to study just for an exam rather study for knowledge. He further said athletes train for sports and not for competition. “You belong to a special generation. Yes, there is more competition but there are more opportunities too”, he said.
He exhorts students to treat competition as the greatest gift of their time. Many times, he has stressed that learning should be an enjoyable, fulfilling and lifelong journey.

“In a long life, an exam is just one of the opportunities to challenge yourself. The problem arises when you look at it as the end of all your dreams, as a life-and-death question. Take any exam as an opportunity. Actually, we must keep looking out for such challenges rather than run away from them.”

                                                        Hon’ble Prime Minister

You would be happy to know that, on January 12, 2023 the Hon’ble Prime Minister has shared a ‘repository of mantras and activities’ with students to help them beat the exam stress, as a part of PPC 2023and it can be accessed online. The series aims to bring together all the important themes that the Prime Minister has touched upon in his interactions in the past iterations of PPC. The website hosts videos of the Prime Minister, text summary of the concepts and graphics that succinctly captures the message. It covers several topics such as ‘what is the right attitude towards exams?’, ‘confidence in and out of the exam hall’, time management, handling difficult subjects, how to concentrate, ‘making the most of memory’, ‘setting goals’, and much more.

In view of various challenging situations and bringing transformative reforms to this sector, our government has brought in the path breaking National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, formulated through the process of intensive consultations of all stakeholders.  The NEP 2020 envisages transformational changes in the Education sector. The policy recommends flexibility in choice of subjects for the students. Students will have the liberty to take subjects of their choice, choose their own path, and pursue a profession of their own liking.It also focuses on continuous, formative and competency-based assessment, promoting learning and development of students and testing higher-order skills which includes analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity, etc.

In the near future the NEP 2020 will, change the whole syllabus and pattern for the students of classes 10 and 12. With the amalgamation of subjects and the crossover between streams, students will now be able to study subjects as per their preferences and pursue higher studies accordingly. They will have an option to choose subjects such as arts and crafts and vocational along with the conventional ones. For example, a science student will be able to choose an arts subject and study both simultaneously.

In this process, an initiative like PPC will play a major role by addressing the concerns of students, teachers and parents regarding exam anxiety, time management, stress and other related themes. I would invite and request everyone to join this movement and actively support the students to thrive and succeed in their respective fields and contribute to the noble cause of nation building.

(Author is Union Minister for Education and Skill development & Entrepreneurship)  

(Courtesy PIB)