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Covid 19 surge: School principals divided over postponing board exams

April 2, 2021
– Reshma Ravishanker

While the second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic has triggered fear and panic among parents and students preparing to write their all-important school-leaving class X and XII exams, school managements are divided over whether board exams should be postponed.

The CBSE class X will be held from May 4 to June 7 while class XII exams are scheduled to be held from May 4 to June 14. The school-leaving class X and XII exams of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) are to be held from May 4 to June 7 and April 8 to June 18 respectively.

Recently, some states, where Covid-19 cases have spiked, rescheduled or cancelled board exams for students. In West Bengal, the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) postponed practical exams for students of class XII who tested Covid-positive while in Punjab the state government has postponed the state board class X exams scheduled on March 22 by a month. In Uttar Pradesh, the Panchayat Raj Department has asked the state government to defer conduct of the class X exams for all state board affiliated schools.

Charu Wahi, principal of the CBSE-affiliated Nirmal Bhartia School, New Delhi, is not in favour of deferring the class X/XII board exams. “Pushing the dates for class X board exams might not be the best option as it would have an impact on the career prospects of children. This is a primary concern among parents as it will impact students’ college admissions. If exams get delayed any further, children could lose impetus,” she says.

However, some school principals believe that instead of keeping students worried over a possible cancellation of exams, postponement would be a better choice. Rohan Bhat, chairman of the CISCE-affiliated Children’s Academy Group of Schools, Mumbai says that postponing board exams to June is a better option. “A decision must be made based on how the next 15 days span out. Children are exhausted as they are reeling under stress and anxiety of whether exams will be postponed because of the second pandemic wave. Conventionally, exams would be wrapped up by March. Online exams are not a solution at all for school-leaving board exams. If the situation worsens, it’s better to defer the exams to June,” he says. 

Bhat also suggests that the board must innovate with the exam process to cope with the unprecedented situation. “In states where there is no surge in Covid cases, students can complete their exam papers on the designated date. However in states experiencing a huge spurt in cases, exams should be postponed and students can be given a different set of question papers,” he adds.

The uncertainty of the current situation is adding fuel to the fire of parental anxiety, says Bharathi Singh, founder and chief, SA-Mudra Foundation, Bengaluru and a student counsellor. “Just like last year, parents are afraid that the board exams may be postponed. The future course of action of all boards is vague. For pre-university students, there are apprehensions as CET and NEET coaching will get delayed. Parents and students are experiencing a sense of desperation and want to be done with exams,” she says.

Vasudeva Sharma N V, executive director, Child Rights Trust, Karnataka concurs. “In cases where both parents are working, there is the fear that they will not be able support their children during exams in case of postponement of board exams. This uncertainty has induced fear and panic.”

Also read:

Karnataka private schools record 76% dip in pre-primary admissions

80% parents want kids back in schools, find surveys

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