Published: 24th May 2021
Should we deal with loss of lives or loss of marks? Students vexed as CBSE, Pokhriyal insistent on holding Class 12 boards
The final decision will be taken by June 1 by the ministry and the states have requested time until Tuesday, May 25 to send in their feedback about the conduct of the exams
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal conducted a high-level meeting on Sunday with all the states and UT education ministers, secretaries and chairpersons of state examination boards as well as stakeholders to discuss the pending Class 12 board exams - especially the CBSE boards and all India entrance examinations for professional courses. The Central Board of Secondary Education on Sunday said that they were torn between two options for conducting the Class 12 boards given the pandemic, during the meeting chaired by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The final decision will be taken by June 1 by the ministry and the states have requested time until Tuesday, May 25 to send in their feedback about the conduct of the exams.
What are the two options provided by the CBSE to conduct Class 12 exams amid the pandemic?
Under the first option, the board has suggested that examinations for 19 major subjects be held in the “existing format” and at designated examination centres — and marks for minor subjects be calculated on performance in the major subjects. This option requires one month of pre-exam activities and two months for the conduct of exams and declaration of results and another 30 days for compartment exams. August could be a likely month for holding these exams, the board suggested.
Under the second format, which will take only 45 days to wind up, the CBSE has proposed that Class 12 students sit for the major subject exams in their own schools, instead of designated centres. The exam duration is also shortened to 90 minutes instead of the usual 180 minutes and be conducted on the 19 major subjects. The questions will be MCQs and based on the existing pattern of objective and very short answer type questions. The exams will be conducted two times (July 15 to August 1 and August 5 to August 26).
Students, however, aren't exactly happy or are in two minds about these options. "Stretching all of this to such an extent is already putting a lot of pressure on our mental health. Neither options help, 90 minutes or three hours, we can still get infected, we are not vaccinated, we are vulnerable. You cannot be taking examinations when most of the vaccination centres are government schools, I don't feel any of these options are something we can choose. For me, all my subjects are major subjects. We all know a third wave is coming and doctors have asked children to be more careful, are examinations more important than our lives? Should we be dealing with the loss of lives or loss of marks, right now?" asks Shambhavi Dubey, a Commerce student from a Delhi school.
While another student from Chennai, who wanted to remain anonymous prefers the second option where students can opt to take the exams in their own school and the duration will be 90 minutes instead of the usual 180 minutes. "A shorter time period is a better option as students will be exposed for fewer hours compared to the first option. If we have to choose one, I feel a shorter time period is better at this point," he adds.
Several states have agreed to provide feedback while Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, who also attended the meeting, said that the Delhi government is not in favour of conducting Class 12 board exams. “This is not the right time to conduct exams. We must not fall for following the conventions and traditional practices of conducting exams. We are suggesting that Class 12 students should be evaluated based on performance in internal assessments. If a student is not satisfied with the awarded marks, they should be allowed to appear for exams at a later point,” Sisodia said. Chhattisgarh has also announced that their students will take the Class 12 exams from home to ensure safety amid the pandemic.