Open-book Exams will Make our Kids Smarter: Chandrakant Patil

Chandrakant Patil
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Chandrakant Patil, Maharashtra’s higher and technical education minister, feels that open-book exams will allow students to ‘apply’ what they have learned rather than simply recalling facts. “Professionals often have access to reference materials when making decisions or solving problems, so why not students,” he said. He discussed the twice-a-year Board exams, why Maharashtra’s GER is higher than India’s, and the initiatives the state is taking to encourage increased female involvement in higher education.

As we work toward effective implementation of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, we anticipate a transition from teacher-centric policies to student-centric approaches (which allow students to pick what they want to study).

He stated that we believe open-book exams would enable students to actively employ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Such tests would also allow students to ‘apply’ what they’ve learned rather than merely recalling information.
We feel that such exams can prepare students for the real world, as professionals frequently consult reference books when making decisions or addressing difficulties.
Furthermore, open-book exams might lessen student stress by relieving the strain that comes with rigorous memorisation. This move toward understanding and application rather than just recollection can result in a more comprehensive learning experience.

We must carefully analyze the various issues that such a paradigm may entail. To begin, we will ensure that these tests adequately assess students’ comprehension of the subject matter while not ‘overly’ relying on external resources. We also want to address concerns about sustaining student enthusiasm and honesty throughout the assessment process. We are working towards it.

Mr Patil elaborated on the change in the board exam pattern saying, “Yes, the Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that starting from the academic session 2025-26, students can take 10th and 12th Board exams twice a year. The aim is to provide ample opportunities for students to excel academically, while reducing academic stress. By allowing students to choose when to sit for exams, we can empower them to better manage their study schedules and prepare accordingly.”

In Maharashtra, we are working on modifying our rules and processes to accommodate this student-focused vision. This move also supports our government’s long-term goal of nurturing a skilled and competitive workforce, ultimately contributing towards making India a developed country by 2047.”