Several school principals in the national capital and adjoining areas are not in the favour of postponement of the CBSE board exams next year in view of the continuing closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school principals believe that the postponement of board exams will not be the right move as it will impact the schedule of higher education entrance exams and admission processes as well, which will be disturbing for students.
The Delhi government had last month written to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to not conduct the board exams next year before May and further reduce syllabus as schools still continue to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also raised the issue at NCERT’s council meeting last month chaired by Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
“Postponing the board exams can have some serious repercussions on the students’ growth and performance preparing via remote learning. As this session was attributed to getting familiar with remote learning tools, by both the students and teachers,” said Priyanka Barara, Principal, Delhi International School.
“With no concrete update on vaccines, we don’t see parents allowing their wards to return to school. Therefore, we would not like to repeat the pattern of losing time again by supporting the delay in board exams,” she added.
Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, who is also the President of Delhi Sahodaya School Complex, said, a survey was conducted to get feedback from principals and teachers of over 100 schools, on the issue.
“We asked this very question that when should the examinations be conducted? By an overwhelming majority, the school authorities suggested that the board examinations should not be postponed beyond March 15. Also, CBSE board result for class 12 and higher education entrance exams are interlinked, therefore postponement of exams any further could cause unnecessary confusion.”
“Secondly, we also unanimously agreed that it is best not to reduce the syllabus any further and that the students should get a gap of at least 3 to 4 days between subsequent exams. Another point that was raised was that we should try to conduct practicals in the offline format only by calling students in small groups,” she said.
Kalpana Dwivedi, Principal St Joseph’s High School, CBSE Panvel, said, “the exams should not be postponed further, the theory portion will be completed in due time. And practical portion can be dealt with-in Jan-Feb 2021, hence, exams can be conducted in mid-March 2021 in consideration with the existing situation.”
“We see no reason for postponing the exams to the month of May, as our teachers and students have now got accustomed to the virtual learning methods. We have already planned academic calendar in a manner that relevant attention has been directed towards timely completion of syllabus along with practice sessions and doubt resolving discussions with teachers,” Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, Delhi Public School, Indirapuram
“Also, as per the government guidelines, the syllabus has been reduced by 30-40 pc which is appropriate considering the physical classroom void created by the pandemic. More reduction would create a substantial gap in knowledge and understanding of important concepts,” she added.
Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, said, “a detailed discussion was initiated among teachers, management and parents for planning a systematic academic calendar in the remote learning academic session. Classes are being conducted and planned ever since with the intention of conducting board exams timely”.
“An extension would lead to a disturbance in the set schedule of students and teachers. The syllabus reduction has already been applied by the board, which has reduced the burden and compensated for the gap created due to no classroom interaction,” she said.
In a letter to the CBSE, the Directorate of Education (DoE) had said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a major chunk of time of 2020-21 academic session (approximately seven months) could not be utilised for classroom teaching-learning process as schools in Delhi are closed till October 31.
Universities and schools across the country were ordered to shut down on March 16 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. On March 25, the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown. While several restrictions have been eased gradually in different phases of the ‘unlock’ since June 8, educational institutions continued to remain closed.
However, according to the latest ‘Unlock 5’ guidelines, schools, colleges, and other educational institutions outside COVID-19 containment zones can reopen after October 15. The final decision on reopening the institutions has been left with the states and Union Territories. The Delhi government has decided to maintain status quo on schools’ closure till further orders.
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