The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE)’s decision to set question papers for classes 9 and 11 raised concerns among parents and teachers’ bodies across the country. While the move was aimed at increasing preparedness for the upcoming Boards, parents allege it will instead mean huge mental pressure on students.
According to the All India Parent Association head, Ashok Agarwal, except board exams at classes 10 and 12, there should be no additional examination. “How many board exams do they want to conduct? It will only traumatise students and parents. The amended Right To Education Act has already mandated public examination in class 5 as well,” he commented.
According to the circular, the question papers for all major subjects including English, mathematics, science and other subjects will be prepared by the board and circulated throughout all schools, though the checking will be done internally by respective teachers.
“Why is the Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) interfering in classes 9, 11 examinations that are held by the school? The board’s decision will create additional pressure for students,” remarked Anuli Katakam, Head of Mumbai Parents Associations.
“How can my son, who is just 14-years-old, take the pressure of board examinations? The new regulation has been circulated without prior notifications,” Katakam pointed out.
The Mumbai Parents Association has also started a signature campaign requesting the board to withdraw its decision. As on August 19, over 13,000 petitioners have signed in favour of scrapping the board’s decisions.
Interference in classroom
Apart from the parents’ associations, the teachers’ bodies are also unhappy with CISCE’s decision. “The move to regulate classes 9, 11 examinations will hamper the curriculum followed by schools. Many CISCE schools start preparing students in advance for the Boards and questions are based on the syllabus for both classes 10 and 12. There is 60 per cent weightage given to the class 9 and 11 syllabus and 40 per cent to the class 10 and 12,” explained a member of the Kolkata Teachers’ Association.
According to the principal of a south Kolkata school, “The entire preparation for the Boards may be hampered as every school has its own way of training students, who will now have to prepare separately with more focus on class 9, 11 examinations.”
Only a preparation, says Board
Meanwhile, CISCE chairperson, Gerry Arathoon stated there was nothing to worry about as the centralised systems will help the students ready for their upcoming Boards.
“By preparing the question paper centrally, we are making students ready for their upcoming Boards. No student who is appearing for board exams should feel like they are appearing for something new. The uniform question paper will also help the teacher in understanding the pattern and hence teach accordingly. Before appearing for Boards, students will be familiarised with the exam pattern, way to attempt it, etc,” Gerry Arathoon said.
The move, as per the Board, “will help maintain uniformity across schools and standardise the level of teaching across India in CISCE-affiliated schools.” The question papers for minor subjects such as physical education, arts, etc, will be set by respective school-teachers. Promotions from class 9 to 10 and class 11 to 12 will be based on the cumulative average of marks obtained in both the annual exam and unit tests. The latter will be conducted by the respective schools, as per the previous rules.
The CISCE has recently released the date sheets for the class 9, 11 examinations, which will be conducted in two phases in November and February. The class 9 examinations will be held between November 4 and 20, and another from February 10 to 26, 2019. The dates for the class 11 examinations are November 4 to 27, and another from February 10 to March 4, 2019.