Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal after chairing a high-level meeting Sunday asked states to respond in writing by May 25 with their suggestions on methodology, process, duration and timing of Class XII board exams, following which the ministry would announce its final decision.
The meeting was held with all state/UT education ministers, secretaries and chairpersons of state examination boards to discuss pending Class XII board exams and was also chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Two options for conducting exams have been presented before states. The most likely option being considered is a shorter examination of 1.5 hours each of only major subjects to be conducted in the same schools where students are enrolled instead of external examination centres.
However, students are not happy with the idea of offline exams. Maria Anna Anil, a Class XII student of City International School who recovered from the Covid infection in March, said, “Holding an entire year of online classes and then expecting students to risk lives to give offline board exams seems irresponsible. All other assessments were done online, even board exams can be. Most colleges and courses have online entrances and admissions have started online. Our batch never had a definite answer to our queries, the entire situation is handled carelessly and this constant postponement is affecting out mental health. As a Covid survivor, I want proctored online board exams as I do not wish to go through the same nightmare,” she said.
Online proctored exams seem to be the method of choice for students with most comparing how foreign countries have handled the situation.
“Whether it is our own school or another, shorter duration or longer, we will be risking ourselves by going to take physical exams. Honestly it was expected that our education system would come up with some innovative solutions, this pandemic could be used as an opportunity but instead we are focused on traditional method of exams. Students are expecting outside the box thinking. For example, if next year admissions is the concern then use multi-pronged approach of entrance tests, aptitude assessment and interviews, all of which can be done online,” said Ananya Sharma, another Class XII student of Kothari National School.
Many students complained about academic fatigue having set in besides health concerns.
Urvi Bhatia, a Class XII student who is currently fighting Covid, said, “With all this talk of third wave coming in and vaccine shortages, most students don’t want to risk their and their family’s lives. It has been so long, it is taking a toll on our mental health and some clarity would be helpful. Colleges are taking entrances, we have pressure of other entrances like JEE, NEET and CLAT. Many of my classmates have been accepted in colleges based on entrances. I hope they come up with alternate method for assessment as there is no motivation left to study,” she said.