Published: 24th May 2021
Delaying board exams until August will hamper college admissions and plans to study abroad: School Principals
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed conducting the exams between July 15 and August 26 and the result to be declared in September
The proposal to conduct Class 12 board exams in July-August with the evaluation process stretching up to September, if accepted, will hamper the college admission schedule and may affect plans of the students who wish to study abroad, according to school principals. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed conducting the exams between July 15 and August 26 and the result to be declared in September.
In a high-level meeting on Sunday, the board also proposed two options: conducting regular exams for only major subjects at notified centres or holding shorter-duration exams at the school where a student is enrolled. "The new proposal is likely to cause a ripple effect in the education space, as a delay in holding board exams leads to a delay in college applications, admissions and the start of the new academic year.
If there won't be enough gap between the board exams and university entrances, then the students won't get time to prepare for their entrance exams," Rajat Goel, Director, MRG School, Rohini told the media. "We all are aware the COVID situation is highly unpredictable, we can never be sure about the situation at that time. Keeping this in mind, delaying the exam and hence the result is not suggestive. Delaying the examinations, again and again, puts the students under constant mental pressure which can have adverse effects," he added.
The principal of a top school in Gurgaon who did not wish to be identified said the academic calendar in America, Canada, New Zealand and the UK begins usually in September. "I am not sure if students who wish to study abroad will be able to take admission in September edition. While board exams scores have limited impact on foreign university admissions, passing Class 12 is definitely a must. The whole calendar may go for a toss in Indian universities and colleges too," she said.
Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, believes that the idea to reduce duration of exams from three hours to 90 minutes will not be helpful as the virus takes only seconds to infect. "I still feel there should not be any board exams this year. If the examination is going to be conducted offline, then whether the paper is going to be for three hours or 90 minutes, would be immaterial as the virus needs only seconds to infect. Also, there is a talk of a third wave of the pandemic which we understand would affect the children more. So, is it wise to expose them?" she said.
According to Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram, the delayed schedule will delay the academic session in colleges and universities but it can be balanced by curtailing vacations and extending the session by few months. "The decision regarding the revised examination period must have been taken after a lot of critical thinking and brainstorming. Of course, the delayed examinations would impact the session-beginning of the institutions of higher learning in India, but that can be handled by curtailing the vacation/ holidays and extending the session by a couple of months on the other side," she said.
Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern School, Shalimar Bagh, however, feels the decision is correct and foreign universities will be able to offer flexibility considering the pandemic situation in a few countries is worse. "The proposal to conduct exams in August and declare results in September seems quite fair because we cannot even think about sending children to the exam centres amid rising cases, she said. The first option proposed by CBSE is conducting exams at designated centres for 19 major subjects. For minor subjects assessment can be based on performance in major subjects. This can be done if three months of time period is clearly and safely available to the board. August could be a likely month for holding the exams and the whole process is likely to go on till September end," an official said.
Elaborating on the second option, the official said, "The exams can be conducted twice by the board depending upon the conducive situation. If a student is not able to appear due to any COVID related matter, he or she will be provided another opportunity to sit for exams." "The exams will be of 90 minutes duration instead of three hours and will be conducted in same schools where students are enrolled. The questions will be objective and very short answer type. Students will have to appear in one language and three elective subjects," he added.
The tentative timeline for this option is the first phase of exams from July 15 to August 1 and the second phase from August 8-26. Exams are proposed to be conducted on Sundays also. The Ministry of Education has sought detailed suggestions from all states and union territories about the proposal by May 25 and a final decision will be taken by June 1.