ALMOST 73% of Delhi government school students have decided to make their lives easier during the 2020 Class X board examinations by opting for the basic mathematics paper, a new option introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which will be a simpler test than the standard mathematics paper.
In contrast, just about 33% of the approximately 18 lakh students who have registered for the examination across India and abroad have chosen basic mathematics.
However, these numbers cannot be seen in isolation. While all the 1,030 schools run by the Delhi government are affiliated to the central board, most state government schools in other states are affiliated to their respective state boards. In these states, most schools affiliated to CBSE are private schools.
In January, the CBSE had announced the basic mathematics option with the stated objective of offering an element of choice to students who don’t want to study mathematics after Class X, and thus reducing exam-related stress. The current Class X batch is the first to benefit. Students who choose the basic option will not be allowed to choose mathematics as a subject in Class XI and XII. However, if they change their mind after the exam, they will be given the option of writing the standard mathematics paper during the compartment examination.
According to data collated by the Delhi government from almost 1, 000 schools, while 41,386 students have opted for standard mathematics, an overwhelming 1,11,001 students have opted for basic mathematics. This means that 72.84% of the children have decided to opt for basic mathematics.
The Indian Express had earlier reported how the Delhi government is focussing on mathematics this year, as the overall Class X pass percentage of its schools is being dragged down because of the large number of students who fail the subject. Of the 1,66,167 students who appeared for the 2019 board examinations, 24,502 had failed in only one subject — mathematics.
Earlier this year, the government had sent out a directive to all its schools saying that “students who are low performers in mathematics (should) be counselled to opt for basic and not standard mathematics”.
The CBSE’s initiative enables students to either opt for basic mathematics or standard mathematics at the time that schools prepare their final list of candidates for the Class X board exam. While the syllabus will be common, the basic mathematics examination will be easier.
“The questions in the standard paper will require more application, analysis and conceptual understanding. The basic paper will be oriented more towards understanding and will require less high order thinking skills,” Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Examination), CBSE, had told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, according to a senior CBSE official, an average of one in three children have opted for basic mathematics in the over 19,000 secondary level schools affiliated to the board across the country and abroad.
“Of the approximately 18 lakh students who have registered for the examination, over 11 lakh have opted for standard mathematics while over 6 lakh have opted for basic mathematics. This is the first time that it has been introduced and different stakeholders may not have full clarity on it. I think in the coming years, we will see more students opt for it,” the official said.
The principal of a Delhi government school pointed out that “Delhi government schools are the only ‘open for all’ schools which are affiliated to the CBSE. Other government schools under CBSE, such as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, are also exclusive. These are schools where we are struggling to make Class VI, VII and VIII students read their textbooks through learning interventions. How will they be able to do Class IX mathematics? Getting a larger number of students to pass mathematics by teaching them how to score the requisite 33% is completely different from making them confident about the subject and want to take it up in Class XI and XII.”