November 3, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: Numerous school principals in the national capital and adjoining areas do not support the postponement of the CBSE board exams next year due to continued closure of schools in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school principals believe that postponement of board exams will not be the right move since it will adversely impact the schedule of higher education entrance exams and admission processes as well, which will be disturbing for students.
The Delhi government had recently written to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) asking not to conduct the board exams for the coming year before May and further reduce syllabus since schools continue to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also raised the issue at NCERT’s council meeting last month, chaired by Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
“Postponing the board exams can have some serious repercussions on the students’ growth and performance preparing via remote learning. As this session was attributed to getting familiar with remote learning tools, by both the students and teachers,” said Priyanka Barara, Principal, Delhi International School.”With no concrete update on vaccines, we don’t see parents allowing their wards to return to school. Therefore, we would not like to repeat the pattern of losing time again by supporting the delay in board exams,” she added.
Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, in Delhi said, a survey was conducted to get feedback from principals and teachers of over 100 schools, on the issue.”We asked this very question that when should the examinations be conducted? By an overwhelming majority, the school authorities suggested that the board examinations should not be postponed beyond March 15.” CBSE board result for class 12, and higher education entrance exams are interlinked as well. Thus postponement of exams any further could cause unnecessary confusion.”Secondly, we also unanimously agreed that it is best not to reduce the syllabus and that the students should get a gap of at least 3 to 4 days between subsequent exams. Another point that was raised was that we should try to conduct practicals in the offline format only by calling students in small groups,” she said.
Kalpana Dwivedi, Principal at St Joseph’s High School, said, “The exams should not be postponed, the theory portion will be completed in due time. And practical portion can be dealt with-in Jan-Feb 2021; hence, exams can be conducted in mid-March 2021 in consideration with the existing situation.”
“We see no reason for postponing the exams to May, as our teachers and students have now got accustomed to the virtual learning methods. We have already planned the academic calendar in a manner that relevant attention has been directed towards timely completion of syllabus along with practice sessions and doubt resolving discussions with teachers,” Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, Delhi Public School, Indirapuram. “Also, as per the government guidelines, the syllabus has been reduced by 30-40%, which is appropriate considering the physical classroom void created by the pandemic. More reduction would create a substantial gap in knowledge and understanding of important concepts,” she added.
Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, said, “A detailed discussion was initiated among teachers, management and parents for planning a systematic academic calendar in the remote learning academic session. Classes are being conducted and planned ever since to conduct board exams timely. An extension would lead to a disturbance in the set schedule of students and teachers. The syllabus reduction has already been applied by the board, which has reduced the burden and compensated for the gap created due to no classroom interaction,” she said.
In a letter to the CBSE, the Directorate of Education (DoE) said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant chunk of time of 2020-21 academic session, which is roughly seven months, could not be utilised for classroom teaching or learning process as schools in Delhi are closed till October 31. Universities and schools across India were ordered to shut down on March 16 to contain the spread of Coronavirus. On March 25, the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown. While several restrictions have been eased gradually in different phases of the ‘unlock’ since June 8, educational institutions continued to remain closed.
However, according to the latest ‘Unlock 5′ guidelines, schools, colleges and other educational institutions outside COVID-19 containment zones can reopen after October 15. The ultimate decision on reopening institutions has been left with states and Union Territories in India. The Delhi government has decided to maintain the status quo on schools’ closure till further orders.