Top principals speak out
Following several complaints and concerns from students and parents, governments of few states like Tamil Nadu and Telangana have cancelled the board exams and decided to promote students either on the basis of their internal assessments or performance in other exams. However, many parents are also demanding the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations) boards to follow suit and cancel the exams that were rescheduled to take place between July 1 and 15. Parents have recently submitted a plea in Supreme Court seeking cancellation of class 12 CBSE exams and grade students according to their scores in previously conducted exams or internal assessments of the pending subjects.
EducationWorld spoke to a few principals of CBSE and CISCE affiliated schools across the country to find out if they think the board exams should be conducted as per the revised schedule or be cancelled. While some say that the authorities would take the right decision keeping in mind the welfare of students, some say that exams should be cancelled or postponed.
Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, founder of SAI International Residential School says internal assessment doesn’t give true credit to deserving students and hence it would be better to conduct exams. Also an advisor to the Odisha Adarsh Vidyalya Sangathan, Government of Odisha, Sahoo says, “July 1 will not be conducive to conduct exams considering the rise in the number of coronavirus cases. The exams should be postponed by 15 days or 1 month as the health and safety of students is of utmost importance.”
‘We should abide by the decision of authorities’
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School, Delhi who is also a governing body member of CBSE says the concerned authorities will take best possible care to ensure safety of students. “Safety is a concern not just for parents, it is the concern for schools, policy makers and the authorities as well. The Board has come up with guidelines after scrutinising the situation. It is too early to say if the pandemic situation will improve or deteriorate. We need to wait and watch. I am confident that the concerned authorities will make the right decision,” she says.
Dr Lavanya Mithran, principal of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School and Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School, Kolkata agree with Arora. Dr Mithran says, “It is better we follow the guidelines and recommendations by the WHO and the government. They work towards the welfare of students and they will take the right decision keeping in mind the well-being of students, staff, school and parents.” Sapru adds they will abide by whatever decision the board or the government makes. “We will wait for their final decision. I am sure they will make the right decision in the best interests of all stakeholders,” she says.
‘Exams should be conducted’
On the other hand, few education experts say exams should be conducted. Amarendra Mishra, principal, KC Public school, Jammu says class 12 boards should be conducted at the home centres as it determines the future of students and help them get admissions to prestigious higher education institutions. “The coronavirus cases are under control in Jammu and people cooperate and follow all safety measures. The class 12 exams should be conducted as older students can take care of all precautionary measures that need to be taken. However, pending class 10 board exams can be cancelled so that we do not put children under any additional stress,” he says.
Dr Ratna Ghose, head of Capstone High School, Hoskote agrees that board exams should be conducted. “Students should be given a fair opportunity to give their exams as is the matter of their future. All safety measures should be taken while conducting the exams. If a child is sick, he should be in self-isolation while writing exams. Cancelling exams and promoting students on the basis of their performance during the internal assessments is not a solution. Internal assessments do not give the right idea about the capabilities of students,” she adds.
‘Promote students without exams’
However, Rohit G Bhat, CEO, Children Academy, Mumbai believes exams should be cancelled as there is lot of frenzy due to the pandemic situation. “Our students have been out of school for three months. They say they need revisions before the exams. It is difficult for schools as well to manage studies and revisions for its older students and manage classes for the newly admitted students. The situation in Mumbai is bad. It is better to grade students with an average mark based on the exams that were conducted,” he says.
Dr Dilip Modi, chairman of JIVEM education and state head of NISA (National Independent Schools Alliance), Rajasthan also believes exams should be cancelled. “When the CBSE can promote students without exams abroad in its 250 schools, why can’t they do so for Indian students as well? Why is the board discriminating? It is a huge risk to conduct exams now as the curve has not been flattened yet in our country. Students will be forced to travel to exam centres. It is a huge risk as well. Also, when they meet their friends at the centre after such a long period, it would be impossible to ensure social distancing. Lives of students are more important than exams,” he says.
Akhila DamodaranPosted in National, News