With dates for the 2021 board examinations announced last week, some teachers in Delhi government schools said they hope this will push the government to allow board-year students to attend classes offline. CBSE exams for class X and XII students will begin on May 4 and conclude by June 10.
Schools have been shut since March last year due to the pandemic. As reported by The Indian Express, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia had said there is very little possibility of schools re-opening before July this year.
Last month, a Delhi-based group of teachers called Lok Shikshak Manch had written to the CBSE raising concerns regard the conduct of board exams without “a decent minimum of classroom teaching-learning”. They stated, “On the one hand, secondary and senior-secondary students in most private schools would have experienced more or less smooth online classes since the beginning of the session, aided by individual attention from schools and private coaching, and well-cushioned by academic support at home. On the other hand, almost all students of these grades in government schools have been struggling since months to gain access to any meaningful online education.”
The principal of a government school in Outer Delhi, who also teaches science, said he hopes the announcement in dates will give a fresh drive to students and push the government to allow them to come to school.
“Honestly, the level of engagement in online classes is low; I think only about 20% students in our schools are benefiting. Now that the dates have been announced, I think this should increase. In any case, students tend to get serious about the exams in the last few months. But I think it will be essential that they get at least a month of offline teaching before the practicals, so that focused preparation for the exams can take place,” he said.
The vice-principal of a school in Northeast Delhi said that attendance in online classes continues to be thin, even among class XII students: “In any class, there’s a maximum of 50% students present. There are still some students we’re not in regular touch with — they move in and out of online classes, attend some few and far between. It makes me concerned that at this point of time, we are not prepared enough.”
The head of another government school pointed out that owing to the lockdown, students from these schools had been given relaxed terms of promotion to classes X and XII: “Because of the pandemic, students from class IX and XI had been passed through home assignments and tests which means that even those who might not be academically ready to write the exams, especially in class X, will appear for them… We had expected at least one or two months of physical classes before the exams.”
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