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Following CBSE’s example, Punjab and Tripura to restore single board exams format next academic year

Even as PSEB and TBSE confirmed the rollback to The Indian Express, states like Himachal Pradesh and Goa have decided to continue with the two-term exams for another year

CBSE class 12 exams, Board exams 2022Last year, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic forced most school boards in the country to cancel the Class 10 and Class 12 exams. (Representative image)

Following in the footsteps of CBSE and CISCE, the Punjab School Education Board (or PSEB) and the Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) have decided to switch back to the pre-pandemic format and conduct just one Board exam for Classes 10 and 12 in the academic year 2022-23.

However, even as Punjab and Tripura confirmed the rollback to The Indian Express, states like Himachal Pradesh and Goa have decided to continue with the two-term exam format for another year.

Last year, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic forced most school boards in the country to cancel the Class 10 and Class 12 exams. Instead, students were evaluated on their scores in previous exams, practical exams and internal assessments.

To avoid a repeat of this, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) last year announced a bifurcated format with two terms for the academic year 2021-22. The Term-I board exams were held in November-December last year, while the Term-II exams were held in April-May this year.

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Following CBSE’s announcement, state boards of Punjab, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Goa followed suit and announced two exams. These state boards also followed the same format as CBSEs for the question papers — only objective-type questions for Term 1 and a mix of objective and subjective questions for Term 2.

But in April this year, CBSE decided to restore the single-exam format for 2022-23. With this development, at least Punjab and Tripura have changed their minds.

Speaking to The Indian Express, PSEB Examination Controller Janak Raj Mehrok and TBSE said that they will conduct examinations for all classes based on the old pattern of annual exams from next year.

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Mehrok said that the decision to conduct two exams was taken to factor in uncertainties produced by the pandemic and that now, when the situation is closer to normal, PSEB is in favour of returning to how things were in 2019.

Explaining why Goa decided against rollback, the chairman of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Bhagirath Shetye, said, “We are going to continue with the two-term format. These are our initial steps towards NEP (National Education Policy 2020) to have a semester system.”

He added, “The other reason is that in the light of the pandemic, although all our schools are running in full swing, we don’t want to take any risks. Also, to review any policy, we need to see the performance for at least two years. We have seen last year’s performance and we will see it again this year. So this year we will continue (with the two term examination format).”

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The new National Education Policy (NEP) launched in July 2020 advocates for making Board exams easier and conducting them twice a year to take pressure off students. “Boards may over time also develop further viable models of Board Exams that reduce pressure and the coaching culture. Some possibilities include: a system of annual/semester/modular Board Exams could be developed – that each test far less material, and are taken immediately after the corresponding course is taken in school – so that the pressure from exams is better distributed, less intense, and less high-stakes across the Secondary Stage…” the NEP 2020 document states.

A senior official with the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HP BOSE) echoed Mehrok’s views. “Going forward, we will stick to the two-term format because the NEP has recommended it. Moreover, the feedback about holding two exams has been good,” the officer said.

First published on: 29-07-2022 at 09:46:19 am
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