The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will be conducting board exams for class 5 and class 8 along with classes 10 and 12 from the academic year 2019-20 onwards. Earlier the exams were conducted by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). The board in its latest circular has announced this change and has also released model question papers for each subject of soon to be board classes at its official website, pseb.ac.in.
The syllabus for the exam will remain same, there is a possibility for the exam pattern to undergo changes. Talking to indianexpress.com, PSEB spokesperson Raminderjeet Singh said, “Earlier every school used to set-up their own question paper, now there will be uniformity and there might be changes for some schools. Keeping this in mind, we have uploaded the model test papers so that teachers will be aware of the type of questions that will be asked in the upcoming board examination and prepare students likewise.”
Under the SCERT regime, many goof-ups were reported during class 8 exams. This year itself, class 8 Punjabi question papers were leaked. In as many as six exam centres across the state, Punjabi question papers were distributed during social studies exam. While the SCERT called it a goof-up at the end of the logistics team, it had to face flak and now the body will no longer be conducting class 8 and class 5 exams.
The PSEB spokesperson, however, said that the change was made because of the amendment in the Right to Education (RTE). “Since the no detention policy has been amended (under which students under class 8 could not be failed). Thus we have decided to conduct board exams for class 5 and class 8 students. This would ensure fair practice and uniformity across the state board schools,” said Singh. He added, “Since the board already has a mechanism to conduct board exams, thus the PSEB and not SCERT will be conducting the said exams. Earlier too there used to be board exams for class 8 which was scrapped later.”
Now, the PSEB will set-up question papers and will also be responsible for the evaluation and declaration of result for class 8 and class 5 exams. While the board claims that the move is to ensure “academic quality” and prevent the “laid back attitude” among students, many debates that having board exams early-on can increase the stress in students.
“Conducting the board exam does not naturally mean that the question level will be difficult. This only means to curb any leniency on the part of schools and teachers. Nothing changes for students. Now when teachers are made well aware of the exam patterns in advance, we do not think there should be any problem,” he added.
Under the RTE amendment, a student can still not be failed before class 8 and will be given a second chance to appear for the same exam in case they have not attained the minimum marks requirement. In case a candidate fails the re-appear exam, they will have to repeat the year.