After a large section of students took to social media demanding cancellation of board exams, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has told news18.com that its schedule is set and no postponements are on the cards.
Almost one lakh students signed a petition on change.org demanding the cancellation of exams due to the pandemic. “The situation in India is getting worse day by day. When there were only a few cases in the country, they canceled the remaining board exams and now when the cases are at a peak they are planning to open schools. We urge the education minister to look into this matter and cancel all examinations to be held this year as students are already under a lot of stress,” students of class 10th and 12th said in the petition on Change.org read.
CBSE, however, has not hinted at any postponement so far. Sanyam Bhardwaj, Exam Controller CBSE told news18.com, “All the students of class 12th would be entering the higher education for which the dates and schedule are set. There are students planning to go abroad to study where the academic calendar is as of now decided. Calling for cancellation of exams won’t help especially when we know the nature of the virus, its treatment, experience of the first wave, availability of vaccines, and all medical facilities. If we adopt the right behavior there is no harm.”
“As the exam conducting body, we have taken all steps – from more number of centers to ensure a sanitized room. More importantly, students have already given their pre-boards, they know where they stand and can focus on their studies. No activity has come to halt in the country, so why should the students’ future suffer,” he added.
The official said that class 10t board exams “are equally important” as they enrich students with “exam experience”. “It is their first third-party exam,” he said.
Not all academicians are on board with conducting board exams amid the pandemic. Krishna Kumar, former NCERT Director suggested evaluation of past year performance or online exams for board aspirants.
Assessment based on past performance
“Exams are next month. There is no point in pushing students in this situation towards a physical exam. Online interaction over a year has generated enough proof of the quality of work. And if an additional proof is needed that can also be creatively prepared. There is very little rationale for physical exams when no physical classes could take place in any of the CBSE schools. We should either go for evaluation of work done in the past year or hold online exams for CBSE,” said Kumar.
“But essentially there is no need for an exam. There are online assignments done by students are all recorded and accessible, permanent records of students and that can be evaluated. I don’t see any scope for physical exams especially after seeing the intensity of this wave,” he said.
Professor of Elementary and Social Education at Delhi University, Anita Rampal made a case for internal assessments. “At the time when the country is seeing an intense second wave a tentative postponement or cancellation with internal assessments would work well. The fear of students is absolutely valid. It is not advisable to travel out for an exam. Assessment of a student’s academic understanding should not be contingent upon appearing for a three-hour-long exam even if it is unsafe. The students have seen various repercussions of the pandemic, families in deep anxiety even slipping into poverty. Last year a large number of students wanting to take the competitive entrance exams could not make it to the centres, without safe travel options, so it is not about how well prepared the board is in conducting the exams, it is about the students”, she said.
Give the option of Online Exams
Aparajita Gautam from Parents Association, Delhi however, believes postponement of exams is not a good idea and it needs to be contextualized. “As a parents’ body, we believe canceling exams is not a wise idea. Why do children waste a year? The class 12th students would be entering higher education, so they have to sit for exams. But this needs to be contextualized, those who can afford to sit for an online exam should be allowed to, while those who cannot give online exams should be called to their own school. Students can usually get more anxious about a new center, familiarity might psychologically help. On the other hand class 10th exams can be cancelled. Students should be assessed on their year-round performance,” said Gautam.
Set easier paper
Professor and Head of the Division in the Educational Survey NCERT Indrani Bahaduri said the exams should be held on a comparatively easier exam. “Calamities and challenges are a part of life. Escapism may not be the appropriate response in these times. A scientific approach to the conduct of these exams has to be considered. We can ensure that level of difficulty may be made easy for 50 per cent of the paper to ensure passing for the majority but the rest 50 per cent must be of a high degree of discretion to ensure meritorious students are not affected. Learning is hard work and those who have toiled should not be deprived of their chance to shine.”