Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal went live on Twitter on Tuesday (December 22) to answer questions from teachers on board exams in 2021, paper pattern, syllabus reduction, and the mode of conduct of the exams. He said that the CBSE board exams would not be held till February, and that more discussion was needed to fix the dates.
In the webinar, Pokhriyal said that most want the board exams to take place and not be cancelled. He added that since the previous exams had been conducted successfully, the exams in 2021 will be held in the same way with safety protocols in place.
On whether the exams can be held online, Pokhriyal said that since many schools out of the 24,000 CBSE ones are located in remote areas, every student would need a laptop and internet connection for online exams. Therefore, holding them online wouldn’t be possible, he said.
Pokhriyal said the government ensured that proper education reaches students in remote areas with no access to online classes, through classes over TV, DTH services and through community radio.
On whether schools can conduct pre-board exams in written mode, Pokhriyal said that since board exams are being delayed by a couple of months, students will have enough time to prepare for their boards.
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As a result of classroom teaching time being reduced due to the pandemic, the CBSE board exams syllabus for classes 10 and 12 has been reduced by 30%. However, there are speculations that CBSE board exam 2021 syllabus would be further reduced by a total of 50%, and that the board exams in 2021 might be delayed by 45-60 days.
The Education Minister said that state boards have also been taking decisions to reduce their syllabus. For example Maharashtra has reduced the board exam 2021 syllabus by 25% and Uttar Pradesh has reduced it by 30%. Therefore, other state boards can also make similar decisions to reduce their respective syllabus, he said.
Pokhriyal said that 33 per cent of the syllabus is already covered in CBSE through optional questions, so students do not need to study those portions.
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To make JEE Main 2021 easier, the education minister said that it had been decided to introduce more internal choices: out of 90 questions, students would need to answer 75.
He said that students could prepare for JEE as per their own education boards. He, however, added that students who were studying for board exams with a syllabus reduced by 30 per cent would get fewer choices, but that they wouldn’t face any loss.
The Education Minister called teachers of India “corona warriors” as they didn’t allow the 33 crore Indian students to lose out on an academic year because of the pandemic. He added that even though many countries had cancelled the academic year of 2020, India didn’t do so.
Pokhriyal also said that the new National Education Policy could be implemented by the teachers to make it effective. He added that India was the first country to introduce Artificial Intelligence as a subject at the school level.
He said that CBSE had trained more than 4,80,000 teachers in this period, KV had trained 15,550 teachers, and JNV schools had trained 9,085 teachers.