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CBSE Class 12 Board Exam 2021: Clamour for cancellation of exams grow louder

Students and parents want them scrapped and be replaced with an assessment based on past performance. The Ministry of Education is not entirely convinced

May 31, 2021 / 01:01 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Sooraj C Biyani, an 18-year-old CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) Class XII student in Kolkata, has been visiting a therapist since the past six weeks.

Why? He had prepared well for his board exams scheduled from May, but the news of postponement has jolted his mental faculties.

"I get panic attacks whenever there is news flashing about the board exams. Due to this, I am not even able to prepare properly for my NEET exam. Why can't they just cancel the board exam and prepare a marksheet based on our previous exams?" queries Biyani over the phone to Moneycontrol.

He is a medical degree aspirant.

While the Ministry of Education has indicated that it is not in favour of cancelling CBSE Class XII Board Exam, 2021, a final decision on this matter is yet to be taken.

Close

The devastating COVID-19 second wave forced the government to postpone the exams.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by advocate Mamata Sharma, asking stakeholders to call off the CBSE Class XII board exams this year. She has requested the apex court to advise the board to declare the results based on past assessment.

However, there is a growing clamour among students and parents to cancel the board exams and end the uncertainty.

In fact, petitions have also been sent to the Ministry seeking an early resolution.

The justification given for abandoning the board exams is that the COVID-19 situation is yet to improve in any substantial way, and for students to go to physical centres would be risky.

Says Sumana Rajpurohit, parent of Delhi-based CBSE Class XII student Abhishek Rajpurohit: "The situation has worsened. Yes, daily cases have come down but now we are hearing about a third wave that will impact youngsters. How can we let our child go to an exam centre at this juncture?"

She is of the view that an oral assessment could be held, and students be marked in a combination of this oral exam and past performance.

Why do they want exams cancelled?

Every year, close to 1.2 million students appear for CBSE Class XII examinations across the country.

As per the original schedule, the board exams were to be held between May 4 and June 14 and the results declared by July 15.

However, by the second week of April 2021, the COVID-19 situation had worsened, and the Ministry of Education decided to cancel the CBSE Class X board exams.

If the exams are postponed any further, there is a fear that they could clash with competitive exams like JEE (for undergraduate engineering programmes) or NEET (for undergraduate medical courses).

"I had two options. Apply for NEET and if I didn't get through, to seek admission into a medical course in the US. If CBSE keeps delaying the exam dates, students like me would miss out," says Brinda Kaur, a CBSE Class XII student from Mohali.

In fact, study-abroad aspirants have also sent a letter to the CBSE seeking a way out of the logjam. The letter had said that students will lose an academic year if they are unable to get their passing certificates on time.

Considering the pandemic, while international universities are giving a 30-60-day extension to submit the final marksheet, any further delays would lead to the admission getting revoked. Students have time till the last week of August to submit necessary documents for admissions. 

Can't there be an online exam?

Connectivity and availability of stable internet is a must-have in case an online proctored examination is conducted. However, students without a laptop and web camera will lose out because these devices are necessary to write a live online exam.

A regular examination is conducted with pen and paper on a computer at a designated test centre. There are invigilators present to monitor the candidates during the tests.

Online proctoring on the other hand, involves students writing the examinations on their personal laptop at home. Using artificial intelligence (AI), any physical movement, including that of the hands, face and even the retina is closely monitored.

While sources said that the education ministry is open to considering this idea, there are fears that students who lack these facilities, may miss out.

Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank wrote in an article, which said there was gathering consensus that a system of limited examination with adequate time be held.

He also drew a parallel of the JEE and NEET exams held in 2020 despite the pandemic where 2.1 million students wrote the exam across physical centres without any major hiccups.

Students, however, remain unconvinced about how safe it would be.

Says Zainab Ahmed, a CBSE Class XII student from Lucknow: ``We understand that the B.1.617 variant is very lethal, and we are still not fully out of it, but for how long will the exam get postponed? Neither am I comfortable going out and writing the exam nor will my parents allow me to step out. Cancellation seems the best decision."

It is likely that a final decision would be announced on the CBSE exam by the end of the first week of June 2021.

Considering the pandemic, while international universities are giving a 30-60-day extension to submit the final marksheet, any further delays would lead to the admission getting revoked.

Can't there be an online exam?

Connectivity and availability of stable internet is a must-have in case an online proctored examination is conducted. However, students without a laptop and web camera will lose out because these devices are necessary to write a live online exam.

A regular examination is conducted with pen and paper on a computer at a designated test centre. There are invigilators present to monitor the candidates during the tests.

Online proctoring on the other hand, involves students writing the examinations on their personal laptop at home. Using artificial intelligence (AI), any physical movement, including that of the hands, face and even the retina is closely monitored.

While sources said that the education ministry is open to considering this idea, there are fears that students who lack these facilities, may miss out.

Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank wrote in an article, which said there was gathering consensus that a system of limited examination with adequate time be held.

He also drew a parallel of the JEE and NEET exams held in 2020 despite the pandemic where 2.1 million students wrote the exam across physical centres without any major hiccups.

Students, however, remain unconvinced about how safe it would be.

Says Zainab Ahmed, a CBSE Class XII student from Lucknow: ``We understand that the B.1.617 variant is very lethal, and we are still not fully out of it, but for how long will the exam get postponed? Neither am I comfortable going out and writing the exam nor will my parents allow me to step out. Cancellation seems the best decision."

It is likely that a final decision would be announced on the CBSE exam by the end of the first week of June 2021.
M Saraswathy is a business journalist with 10 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers consumer durables, insurance, education and human resources beat for Moneycontrol.
first published: May 31, 2021 01:01 pm

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