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[环球动态] 对印度家庭来说,通过考试比克服疫情更重要

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发表于 2021-04-17 17:05 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/view-why-passing-exams-are-more-important-for-indian-families-than-overcoming-covid/articleshow/82111638.cms?from=mdr

View: Why passing exams are more important for Indian families than overcoming Covid

印度陷入我们希望避免的新冠混乱,印度总理莫迪似乎对考试更感兴趣。当他本来可以解释疫苗的可用性时,他告诉学生们先尝试更难的问题。而随着电视台显示火葬场排队,政府面前的主要问题似乎是推迟CBSE考试。

在这方面,正如在其他许多方面一样,首相可能知道什么对他的支持者真正重要。利物浦俱乐部的经理比尔·尚克利(billshankly)以他对一些人感到失望,认为足球是生死问题:“我可以向你保证,这比这更重要。”同样,许多印度家庭也认为考试比躲过新冠的影响更重要。

大多数有孩子的家庭都会放弃自己的集体生活,由考试时间表和要求来管理。考试为私人辅导班和辅导班带来巨大的经济效益。他们甚至塑造娱乐,通过拼写比赛和测验,基于同样的强烈摄取深奥知识。

这是另一个值得怀疑的中国遗产。笔试的思想是从周王朝(公元前1048-256年)开始的,当时孔子生活在周朝,但它的真正成长却奇怪地跟随着基督教的千年。在约翰·凯伊的《中国:历史》中,他称赞尊崇孔子的汉代官员王莽,特别是在他篡夺权力、从9-23 CE当上皇帝之后,他将笔试制度化:“朝廷为更多的考生敞开大门,更考查‘博学’;长安(首都,今西安)建立了一个住房为1万的殖民地,一个市场和一个粮仓。”

随着中国国家的蔓延,考试的重要性也随之增加。1943年,在《中国对西方考试制度的影响》中,滕绪宇在《哈佛亚洲研究杂志》上发表了一篇论文,他指出,这是如何吸引西方帝国成长的兴趣的。马德拉斯总督麦克阿特尼勋爵于1792年被任命为英国第一位帝国驻华使节,当他的小组到达南昌时,他们被“安置在宽敞的公共建筑里,中央有一个大大厅,对省级文学学位考生(仅中国公务员资格)进行考查。”

滕某指出,当时的西考几乎都是口头考试,通常是法官的提问形式。中国的制度似乎更公正,而且至关重要的是,随着对管理者的需求增加,能够比口头考试更快地扩大规模。

这对东印度公司特别感兴趣,因为在海利伯里的培训学院证明,培训不足。1853年,通过竞争性考试进入印度,理论上甚至对印度人开放。实际上,这些量表是针对印度考生的,他们必须去伦敦,学习完全西方的科目,如希腊语和拉丁语。尽管如此,拉宾达纳特·泰戈尔的哥哥萨蒂扬德拉纳塔戈尔在1863年成功地完成了考试,成为印度公务员制度的第一名印度成员。

这似乎说明了竞争性考试是一种赋权的来源。然而,泰戈尔只有在家族财富和人脉的支持下才能做到这一点,尽管他不得不花费大量时间获取在印度毫无用处的知识。这就是对考试的持续批评——考试加剧了不平等,没有实际意义。这是最近美国几所大学宣布降低对一度至关重要的学术能力倾向测试(SAT)的重视,法国总统马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)希望废除国家行政学院(Ecole National d'Administration)的基础,这是一所精英学院,通过竞争性考试入学。

即使是最初的中国考试,也被指责为官僚精英延续权力的一种方式,将他们如何通过考试的知识传授给子女。而了解中国古代文学经典——或希腊语和拉丁语——又是如何为现实生活做好准备的呢?但是菲利普·梅森在《统治印度的人》一书中指出,他的目的绝不是创造学者,而是“在短时间内掌握一门学科的能力,并记住足够多的内容,给人一种知道得更多的印象。”真正的考验是候选人能够以多快、多好的速度理解深奥的数据,从而据此做出决定,而这正是管理者必须做的。

精英阶层的控制,虽然不可否认,但从来不是绝对的。泰戈尔成功地克服了路上的障碍,在随后的几年里,许多其他印度人也克服了这些障碍,比如罗梅什·钱德拉·杜特,他没有泰戈尔的优势。从某种意义上说,这就是为什么考试必须影响整个家庭,而不仅仅是真正的考生。不那么绝望的人往往是精英,他们往往会失去兴趣,把自己的位置让给有抱负的新精英,反过来,同样的情况也会发生在他们身上。这是残酷的,不公平的,令人筋疲力尽的,就像选举政治一样,但是,正如首相可能争辩的那样,像选举政治一样,其他选择真的可能更好吗?


As India descended into the Covid chaos we hoped to avoid, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to be more interested in exams. When he could have been explaining availability of vaccines, he was telling students to try harder questions first. And as TV networks showed crematorium queues, the main issue before the government appeared to be postponing the CBSE exams.

In this, as in so much else, the PM may know what really matters to his legions of supporters. Bill Shankly, the manager of Liverpool FC, famously said he was disappointed some people felt that football was a matter of life and death: “I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” Similarly, many Indian families might agree that exams are more important than the effects of a passing pandemic.

Most families with children resign themselves to having their collective lives governed by exam schedules and demands. Exams fuel a huge economy of private tutors and coaching classes. They even shape entertainment, with spelling competitions and quizzes based on the same intense ingestion of abstruse knowledge.

This is another questionable inheritance from China. The idea of a written exam to determine merit and find administrators started in the Zhou dynasty (1048-256 BCE), which is when Confucius lived, but its real growth oddly follows the Christian millennium. In John Keay’s China: a History, he credits Wang Mang, an official of the Han empire who revered Confucius, with institutionalising written exams especially after he usurped power and became emperor from 9-23 CE: “The imperial academy opened its doors to even more examination candidates and ever more examining ‘erudites’; a colony with housing for 10,000, a market and a granary were established for them in Chang’an [the capital, now Xian].”

As the Chinese state spread, the importance of the exam increased. In “Chinese Influence on the Western Examination System”, a paper published by Teng Ssu-Yu in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies in 1943, he notes how this attracted the interest of growing Western empires. Lord Macartney, once governor of Madras, was appointed the first British envoy to Imperial China in 1792 and when his group reached the city of Nanchang they were put up “in a spacious public edifice, with a large hall in the centre of it where the provincial candidates for literary degrees (which alone qualify for civil services in China) are examined.”

Teng notes that Western examinations at that time were nearly all oral, usually in the form of questioning by judges. The Chinese system seemed more impartial and also, crucially, as the need for administrators increased, capable of being scaled up far more quickly than oral exams.

This was of particular interest to the East India Company, whose training college at Haileybury was proving inadequate. In 1853 entry by competitive examination was instituted which, in theory, was even open to Indians. In practice the scales were loaded against Indian candidates, who had to travel to London and study entirely Western subjects like Greek and Latin. Despite this, Satyendranath Tagore, the elder brother of Rabindranath Tagore, managed to clear the exam in 1863 and become the first Indian member of the Indian Civil Service.

This might seem to make the case for competitive exams being a source of empowerment. Yet Tagore only managed this with the backing of his family’s wealth and connections, and despite having to spend much time acquiring knowledge that was of no use in India. And this is the persistent criticism made against exams – that they reinforce inequality and serve no practical purpose. This underlies recent announcements that several American universities are reducing the importance given to the once critical Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and that France’s President Emmanuel Macron wants to abolish the Ecole National d’Administration, the elite academy whose entrance is by a competitive exam.

Even the original Chinese examination was accused of being a way for bureaucratic elites to perpetuate power, by passing on their knowledge of how to pass the exam to their children. And how was knowledge of ancient Chinese literary classics – or Greek and Latin – a proper preparation for real life? But Philip Mason in The Men Who Ruled India, his history of the ICS, points out that the aim was never to create scholars, but rather “the ability to get up on a subject at short notice and remember enough of it to give the impression of knowing more.” The real test was of how fast and well the candidate could understand abstruse data enough to make a decision based on it, and this was essentially what an administrator had to do.

And the control of elites, while undeniable, was never absolute. Tagore managed to overcome the hurdles in his way, and in subsequent years so did many other Indians, like Romesh Chandra Dutt, who had none of Tagore’s advantages. In a sense this is the point of why exams have to affect whole families, not just the actual candidates. Less desperate ones, who are often the elites, tend to lose interest and cede their place to aspiring new elites, and in turn the same happens to them. It is brutal, unfair and exhausting, rather like electoral politics but, as the PM might argue, like electoral politics are the alternatives really likely to be better?

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 楼主| 发表于 2021-04-17 18:52 | 显示全部楼层
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