April 19, 2021 4:13:23 am
For many generations, students have been spending their high school years preparing for the much-feared board examinations of Class 10. The maiden tryst with the real fear of the examinations, various centers, admit cards, results, mark sheet, certificates, coupled with the most heard and unsolicited comment and opinion from parents, teachers, friends, and relatives has been “board ka saal hai”, “all set for the boards?”, “How much do you think you can score?” so on and so forth.
However, for some, the fear was forgotten for a bit and there was euphoria about going to school and appearing for the exam. Until the announcement was made about scrapping the exam, and providing students with an option– which brought about some resentment. Who will talk about the depression? Disappointment? Anxiety on aggregate scores? A chance to self-evaluate. The vaccination falling short, the abominable lull around, death surrounding us, and the entire ministry couldn’t think of a better way of announcement or another solution to conducting examinations.
“The parent and student reaction to the cancellation of board exams is a mixed one. Some students are left demoralized, whereas some are comfortable with the decision. Whatever the feelings, we are glad that a closure has been provided to the entire issue which will allow students to at least plan for class 11. I feel that CBSE has one year to plan this out, but they failed miserably. Covid-19 has been there since March 2020 and we all knew that the problem to grade 10/12 will have to be looked into. CBSE needed to look into digital / software-based examinations a year back itself but no such exercise was done. CBSE needs to refund the examination fees that it collected from parents. The alternative to examinations could have been technology-based ablutions or to allow schools to conduct their examinations and trust them something that was done earlier in CCE system – bring it back for this year. And also, if not for the school counsellors or teachers each child and parent have a lot of questions on what next? Why ? we could have adopted a more holistic approach,” says Robin Aggarwal, Director , Learning Paths School.
The decision also puts teachers in a spot. Most of them have been putting in extra efforts and have been encouraging the students to appear for the pre boards after another and other engaging assessments to keep hope and involvement alive.
“We teachers have had it equally bad as the students. First, we were managing our own personal issues of work life balance in the lockdown scenario then we learnt the online methodology and then we started going to school in hope of a normal session and then we prepared our kids for the boards and now we feel each one of us has been defeated except barring those who were never interested in evaluations. For systems such as the board examinations I feel the onus should have been handed over to schools for assessments or by now devised another fool proof digital platform for examinations,” shares Shabnam Singh, a high school teacher in Jaipur.
Moreover, what about the subjects here? the effort put in by the students? Their life thrown out of gear for more than a year, with the
fear looming large of examinations and uncertainty. “Taking the 10th board is a big deal for the students. It is considered as a milestone, so I am sure it must be not easy for the students to know that they have been canceled. They have worked hard the whole year but would never get to know if it paid off, I mean they wouldn’t get to know the outcome or like how well their understanding was. The 10th grade result helps in deciding what to do further but they couldn’t experience all of this I think board could have taken up online exam and at least given them an opportunity to give the exam or maybe postponing it. I am sure a lot of children would be happy with this decision but 10grade board exam is a kind of a rehearsal for the main 12th grade board exam and now they will have to perform in 12 grades without even a practice and the feeling cause it’s really different from taking exams in school,” says Saachi Ahuja, a class 12 student.
These students, now, will also lack the exposure of sitting for a formal examination at a center, something they will have to do for most of the competitive examinations.
Jaya Yadav, a high school teacher of English subject at the Army Public School, Delhi, sheds light on the disappointment. “The decision taken to scrap off class 10 Board exams wipes off the dreams and aspirations of students and parents. The preparation for class 10 Boards start as early as class 6, where in the teachers start preparing a CBSE student to face the Boards in few years time. It’s a continuous process, wherein new teaching methodology is introduced from Grade 6. As an English teacher for last 15 years, I can speak from my experience that new paper patterns are introduced, emphasis is on all aspects – reading, writing, speaking. Comprehension’s skills are enhanced. More mock tests and assignments are given for practices. Senior years from class IX are crucial and a lot of effort is put in by Students, teachers and Parents. It’s the team effort of the school and parents’ community to build up the portfolio of a student and make them ready- both physically and emotionally.”
She adds: “The abrupt decision right before the commencement of the exams are sure landing the students into depression. The midnight oil that they have burnt, the study hours they have put in school, coaching have all gone to drain. The holding of the result card will not be the same if they were allowed to take the exams – maybe online, under strict supervision. As in pre boards we could take help of parent community and could keep the exams on- monitored by parents at home and four to five invigilators from school. We must boost the students, show trust in them and do keep the online exams rather than just cancelling them. India is proud of laborious students. We have no dearth of sincere students. I think we must encourage them and not demotivate them. Also,the ones, we don’t believe in- let’s not give them easy. Exams should be held- online keeping the situation in mind, under strict supervision. Both parents and educators should hold hands at this time.”
That they we must– who else will? But may we all come together and believe in the school prayer we all recited, not knowing that a pandemic will hit us, and we shall overcome. “Oh, deep in my heart I do believe we shall over come some day.” So shall we until the next board examinations.
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