The Centre’s decision to cancel Class 10 board exams and postpone that of Class 12 may have come as a relief for many students and parents who have been demanding a relief amid the second wave of COVID-19, but several governing body members of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) say they were not taken into confidence during the making of the decision.
The CBSE’s governing body constitutes of 34 members which includes government officials, principals of schools and representatives from universities. Four of the 34 members are from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education. However, one of them told Indian Express that he was not consulted about the cancellation and deferment of the exams. The principal of a private school also raised similar concerns.
Speaking to IE, many members of the governing body did acknowledge that the worsening state of infections in the country had pressured the CBSE and the Centre to arrive at a final decision regarding the board exams. They, however, also wondered why the same wasn’t taken earlier.
Several others questioned the point of re-scheduling the Class 12 exams amid the second wave of the pandemic and evaluating students on its basis, especially in a year when classes were not held in the traditional manner.
“As far as Class 10 is concerned, the board has said it will determine some objective criteria of assessment which has not yet been decided, and that is a good idea. But in case of Class 12, this is just a return to square one where we are buying more time so as to hold board exams as we always do. After such a year, why should one exam determine the entire fate of our children? We saw how things panned out this year — not a day of classes was held in the traditional manner,” another senior officials whom IE spoke to said.
Some school principals said evaluating students of Class 12 through “alternative means” would be a challenging job as students have found ways to circumvent different forms of assessment.
“Looking at alternative means of evaluation would have meant either online or a blended mode. But at school, even though we managed to take our teaching online, assessment is where we fell short. Despite all kinds of attempts, students found ways to circumvent different systems so we could not get an honest or foolproof assessment. So though we did have other assessments for our Classes 9 and 11 students, their final results for the year were based on the exams that they took physically while Delhi schools were open,” Rashmi Biswal, principal, of DAV School, Pushpanjali Enclave, New Delhi told IE.
Similar concerns were raised by the principal of a Delhi government school, who pointed the utter gap of communication between teachers and a new batch of students.
“There are some students whom the teachers don’t even know. There are teachers who got a new set of students in Class 10 and the primary interaction was online classes, where we had attendance of 20-25 per cent… There have been attempts to assess students by sending across questions and on Google Forms but there was no way to invigilate,” the teacher said.
The CBSE board exams for Classes 10 and 12 were scheduled to be held between May 4 and June 10. Announcing the decision on Wednesday, Education Minister Ramesh Pohriyal Nishank tweeted that a decision on the new dates for Class 12 exams will be taken on June 1 with students being given 15 days’ notice before the examinations.
Besides, the results for the cancelled Class 10 exams will be prepared “on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board” while students unhappy with the results will be given a chance to take exams whenever they are held.
As many as 21.5 lakh Class 10 students and 14 lakh Class 12 students were registered for the CBSE board exams.