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Govt leaning towards holding class 12 board exams

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Reading between the lines of an opinion piece written by Union Education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, appearing in today’s (May 28) Indian Express, clearly makes a case for holding class 12 board examinations.  A final decision on holding the exam by the Government is already scheduled on June 1, two days from now.

The course of undertaking the limited examination with adequate safety measures will give our generation a sense of pride in their abilities and boost their confidence as opposed to getting a general “pass” degree, as offered during the pandemic. There is no denying that some of our students will have a difficult time due to Covid, which will deny them the option to take the exams in ideal conditions. For such cases, adequate opportunities will be given to take the exams in the second phase or as an additional chance in an improved scenario. We are committed to ensuring that examinations are conducted in a hassle-free and safe way, with all our students getting adequate flexibility, options, and time for undertaking such a critical evaluation as they embark on their future educational journey…The Class XII board exams are deemed a significant milestone in a student’s educational journey. They have different importance and a different context altogether, and are an essential yardstick in determining the life trajectories of a nation’s human capital. We must take this as a challenge to our national will, cooperation, the synergy of efforts and administrative efficiency. Together we shall overcome,” the minister wrote in his article ‘Preparing for board exams 2021: Determination, cooperation and administrative efficiency.’

The second wave of Covid19 pandemic which began exploding in March, has taken life of more than one lakh people and left the country traumatized and grieving. So, all boards were forced to postpone class 12 exams. Last year, around 1.20 Crore students appeared for class XII exams and if taken as a reference, this many students are in a state of anxiety over holding or not holding of exams besides their future prospects and college admissions.

While a vast section of people are against holding exams now and want a way to promote students using internal assessments etc, most states (governments) and even the union ministry appear to be in favor of holding exams. CBSE, the largest national board, which administers exams to more number of students in India after UP state board, early this month came up with two options. One option it spelt was to adhere to existing model, the process of which will require three months to complete. Second, was a truncated format. Under the second format, which will take only 45 days (could be held tentatively in two phases — July 15 to August 1 and August 5 to August 26 — and results could be announced by September 5), the CBSE has proposed that Class 12 students sit for the major subject exams in their own schools. Each examination should be of one-and-a half hours instead of three hours.

The question papers should have only objective and short-answer questions. In this scenario, a Class 12 student will appear for one language and three elective (read major) subjects only. The marks for the fifth and sixth subjects will be decided based on the performance in the elective subjects.

Several states have already announced examination schedule. Barring a few states, which opposed exams in the May 23 meeting chaired by Defence Minister, Raj Nath Singh, most states were prepared to hold exams. There has been a demand for vaccination for all students and teachers who would participate in this exam process but it seem, this proposal will not cut ice given the age factor (a significant student population is still under 18 years ) and availability of vaccines and time window for them to take effect.

A petition has also been filed before the Supreme Court for exempting this year from appearing in class 12 exams, the Court too taking the June 1 announcement in account, has posted the case for hearing on  May 31.

Some reaction on twitters on minister’s article:

 

 

 

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