The proposal to conduct Class 12 board exams in July-August 2021 with the evaluation process stretching up to September, if it gets 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, the board also proposed the following two options: either conducting regular exams for only major subjects at notified centres or holding shorter-duration exams at the school where a student is enrolled.
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 time period is clearly and safely available to the board. August 2021 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 that 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 with another opportunity to sit for exams. “The exams will be of 90 minutes duration instead of 3 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 further added. The tentative timeline for this option is the first phase of exams from July 15 to August 1, 2021, and the second phase from 8th to 26th August 2021. Exams are proposed to be conducted on Sundays also.
“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 PTI.
“We all are aware that the COVID-19 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 said that 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 a 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 further added.
Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal of DPS-RNE Ghaziabad also added, “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 3 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 questioned.
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 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.