With the Covid graph rising steadily, the remaining Board exams for students of Classes 10 and 12 in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) will not be held as scheduled in July.
Instead, the students will be assessed on a special marking scheme. If they are not satisfied with the results based on this system, they can appear for the exam whenever it is scheduled later.
READ | How marks will be calculated
However, Class 10 students of CBSE will not have the second option — for them, the remaining exams have been scrapped.
LIVE UPDATES | CBSE, ICSE Board Class 10th, 12th Results 2020
The Board and the Council informed the Supreme Court of this decision Thursday during the hearing on a plea seeking cancellation of the remaining exams. The examinations, which were stalled in March due to the pandemic, had later been rescheduled to be held between July 1 and July 15.
The pending exams for Class 12 in CBSE-affiliated schools included 12 core subjects — Business Studies, Geography, Hindi (Core), Hindi (Elective), Home Science, Sociology, Computer Science (Old), Computer Science (New), Information Practice (Old), Information Practice (New), Information Technology and Bio-Technology.
The CISCE had eight papers left for Class 12 and six for the Class 10 when the government asked all school boards to postpone the exams.
The CBSE will announce results based on the marking scheme by July 15 so that students can seek admission to higher education institutions on time. The Class 12 students will also be eligible to sit for the optional exams to improve their performance, which will be conducted by CBSE “as soon as the conditions are conducive”. However, if the student chooses the latter, the marks secured in the optional exams will be treated as final.
According to sources, the HRD Ministry will soon hold meetings with Delhi University, which admits students based on their Board performance, to ensure that CBSE’s alternate scheme does not put its students at a disadvantage.
DU may be asked to extend its deadline (July 4) for applications so that CBSE students can also apply once their results are declared by July 15. “No student will suffer because of these changes,” said a senior official.
The government is also considering the option of asking all higher education institutions to not close their admission process till the students, who choose to appear for the optional Board exams, get their results.
In the case of students studying in schools affiliated to CISCE, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for the Council, said the remaining Class 10 and 12 exams are optional this year.
The CISCE students will be evaluated on performance in school assessment, and will have the opportunity to appear for the exam at a later date to improve their marks — in this case, students of both Classes 10 and 12 will have a shot at improvement.
The CBSE’s decision was taken in consultation with the HRD Ministry based on the inputs of an internal expert committee. The Home Ministry also approved the CBSE’s stand before the Supreme Court Thursday.
The Board’s expert committee cited several logistical challenges related to the pandemic to advise against holding the remaining exams. It also cited letters written by the Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Maharashtra governments to the Centre seeking cancellation or postponement of the exams.
The Board’s expert committee cited several logistical challenges related to the pandemic to advise against holding the remaining exams. For instance, it pointed out that conducting an exam uniformly would be difficult in the wake of last-minute changes in the containment zones and that many teachers and students may be residing in these COVID19 hotspots. It also cited letters written by the Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Maharashtra governments to the Centre seeking cancellation or postponement of the exams.
The CBSE also filed a draft notification on its decision before the court. However, the Bench — Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna — asked CBSE to modify it with clear instructions on whether the final decision on scheduling the optional Board exam at a later date will rest with the Central or the State Boards.
Hearing the matter, the Bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the beginning of the new academic year would have to be clarified by the Board. It will have to start in September if the optional exams are conducted in August, the court said.
The court also directed the central government to devise a “pan-India” solution for conducting the exams at a later date since the “situation may be different from state to state”. It also directed the government to come up with a “time frame”. The next hearing is scheduled on Friday.
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