The CBSE had on 14 April announced the cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponed Class 12 exams
The exams, which are usually conducted in February-March every year, were scheduled to be held from 4 May
A high-level meeting chaired by Union minister Rajnath Singh was held on Sunday to take a call on the pending class 12 board exams and subsequent entrance examinations that were postponed due to the raging second wave of Covid-19 in the country.
The meeting was attended by Union minister for education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Union women and child development minister Smriti Irani and minister for information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar.
Education ministers and secretaries of all states and union territories were also present.
“All the state government education ministers and secretaries have been requested to attend this meeting and to share their valuable views with regards to upcoming examinations. This virtual meeting will take place on 23 May," Pokhriyal said on Saturday.
The minister also sought inputs from all the stakeholders – students, parents, teachers and others – through social media.
Pokhriyal has written to states and UTs stating that the department of school education and literacy, and the CBSE are exploring options regarding the conduct of exams, keeping in mind the safety and security of students as well the teachers.
But what are the options available with the board?
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed that it will conduct the class 12 board exams for only major subjects in the existing format of pen and paper mode.
CBSE offers 174 subjects, out of which, about 20 are considered major. The major subjects include Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, History, Political Science, Business Studies, Accountancy, Geography, Economics, and English.
A CBSE student takes a minimum of five and a maximum of six subjects. Of these, usually, four are major subjects.
Under this format, marks for minor subjects can be calculated based on the performance in the major subjects.
Conducting all exams in two phases:
If the board is to choose this model, all exams -- major and minor -- will be conducted in two phases at the designated centres.
This method may be opted to manage crowding at any centre.
Cancelling the exams:
Under the present circumstances, the CBSE has also reportedly proposed that the traditional exams may be cancelled and results announced as per an alternative assessment scheme.
Changing the format of exams
Apart from these suggestions by the CBSE, school principals have proposed an alternative way to hold exams.
"I visualize JEE type of online exams, through the involvement of the NTA. It would require setting up of the centres as per different locations, involving schools as self-centres or perhaps both. It would be a humongous exercise but can be at least considered for all major subjects opted for by a large number of students," Sangeeta Hajela, the principal of DPS Indirapuram, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
"For subjects with very few enrolments, the OTP linked delivery of paper to be printed and conducted at home centres, is also a possibility," she added.
Rajat Goel, the director of MGR School Rohini, said the assessment exam can be conducted online by the CBSE or the school may be allowed to plan an internal exam.
"It can contain MCQs with some objective type questions. The exam can be conducted for every subject wherein the question paper is framed in such a way that student has to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in attempting those questions," he said.
"There can be another part of aptitude test that can be made an intrinsic part of question papers as it will help them in passing the entrance exams of various universities or colleges," he added.
However, Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, said the digital divide has to be kept in mind before deciding on an alternative mode of assessment.
"Board exams for class 12 are not an independently managed examination. It involves several factors which need due time and consideration before being subjected to any change.
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