Practical classes are supposed to help the students relate to and execute the matter they acquired while reading theory in textbooks. This helps in attaching an additional dimension of reality to the theoretical fraction of studies. Other than just helping the students acquire the knowledge better, the drill of practicals should be able to invoke interest in the students’ mind. The practical classes’ help students get intimated with the application of the subject, to experience it in real-time. Understanding of a subject cannot always be expanded within the four walls of a classroom. Theoretical knowledge is of no use unless it is tried and tested in the field. Hence, practicals aim to ensure complete impartation of knowledge in a wholesome manner.
However, in the contemporary times, the methodology of conducting practical classes is redundant. The rigorous method of conducting these non-theory classes is stealing the charm of the practice. Overloading the students with numerous experiments within a semester’s time frame adds to the burden of the curriculum. Students do not put much effort to understand the experiment, but just focus on updating the practical files and getting it verified by the supervisor. Students get reeled in the process, sometimes without gaining as much as an ounce of the practical knowledge. This renders the whole system of ‘learning by doing’ monotonous.
Sometimes there is inconsistency and lag between the theoretical knowledge and experiment in the students’ mind. There are instances when a student is absolutely clueless about the experiment and the governing principle underlying it. Performing an experiment without the knowledge of the basics and background makes it counterproductive. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of concepts before attempting an experiment.
In a lot of government funded institutes spread across the country, labs are not well equipped to perform an experiment meticulously. Apparatus and gadgets do not work precisely. This creates a major hurdle in performing the experiment.
There are labs which are being maintained and supervised by under-skilled lab technicians. They fail to guide the students properly which creates a lot of chaos and confusion.
Due to the synergistic impact of the above-mentioned factors, practical exams are a major headache for the students concerned. They have only increasingly become rigorous and problematic. The practical exams are progressively becoming like theory exams with no restricted real elements. They have not been imparting knowledge; rather these practicals are overburdening students. Practical exams should provide respite from the monotonous lectures; however, status quo reflects a different story. These exams should be designed in a way that inculcates teamwork among students. The University should see that experiments promote self-learning and students essentially gain from such an exercise.
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