Board exam 2021: Government, CBSE in mission mode to ensure NEP implementation

The 2021 board exam will have a higher reliance on objective-type questions (MCQs) as well as reasoning/analysis-based questions. The changes will be applicable for both Class X and Class XII students taking the exam in 2021. The focus will be on practical application of lessons and concepts learnt in the classroom

December 15, 2020 / 01:06 PM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)


In order to ensure implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) from the upcoming 2021 board exams, the Education Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are on a war footing to ensure that the paper format changes are structured and conveyed to schools on time.


Sources told Moneycontrol that in line with NEP 2020 principles, the 2021 board exam will have a higher reliance on objective-type questions (multiple choice) as well as reasoning/analysis-based questions. The changes will be applicable for both Class X and Class XII students taking the exam in 2021.


“The idea is to reduce dependency on merely theoretical knowledge and rote learning. Hence the paper format is being tweaked to include practical questions that will test the application of the theory learnt in class to daily situations,” said an official.


The exam dates for the board exam are yet to be announced. However, Moneycontrol had reported that a few weeks’ delay is expected owing to the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns.


What are the changes under NEP?

NEP 2020 replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.  The National Education Policy (NEP)’s idea is to promote more flexibility in the education system and make school/college education more holistic. It is aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.


So, even in the board examination system, the principle is to break down each subject into different concepts and test students on how these concepts can be applied to the real-world problems.


For instance, instead of quizzing students on trigonometry in Mathematics Class X, there could be questions on how this could be used, say, to build a simple sun roof or for movement on ships in choppy waters.


“The questions will stay the same. It is just that they will tweaked to have a real-world case study for which the same trigonometry formula has to be used,” said an official.


Instead of basic solving questions, the Class X and XII Mathematics papers will have a higher quantum of case-study based questions.




The weightage for multiple-choice questions will be increased by 10 percent across subjects. This will benefit students amidst home-based lessons. The overall syllabus has been reduced by 30 percent for Class X and XII students.


Similarly, when it comes to Economics for Class XII, the questions will be tweaked to make students find out the impact of basic changes in rules. For instance, under economic reforms, students could be quizzed on how the goods and services tax (GST) regime has helped simplify tax payments for small merchants.


In Physics, too, for both Class X and XII, there will be a higher weightage given to reasoning and analysis-based questions. As in competitive exams, this would mean that a student will be given a paragraph to read and then would be required to answer questions applying Physics theories learnt in school.


When will the changes be implemented?

The first phase of changes will be implemented from the February 2021 exam cycle.


Immediately, once all the changes are implemented, schools will be involved with familiarising students with them.


The syllabus and academic content will remain the same. It is just the delivery of the exam paper that will change. Education Ministry officials said that the thrust will be on ensuring that a student has not only read the course curriculum but also understood it well enough to apply it in practical questions.


In the second and third phases, which will begin from 2022-23 onwards, the syllabus will be tweaked to decrease Class X and Class XII board exam pressure. Only core-concept questions will be asked during the exams and the rest will involve analytical and practical questions and tests.

There is also a proposal to allow students to take board examinations up to twice a year to ensure that they can prepare better. But this will be taken up only in 2023.
M Saraswathy
first published: Dec 15, 2020 01:06 pm

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