Keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation, the CBSE and CISCE are contemplating various options about the pending class 12 board exams, including cancellation and adopting an alternative assessment route or going ahead with the exams in truncated format, according to sources.
”While majority states have favoured the option proposed by the CBSE about shorter duration exams for major subjects in August, the COVID-19 situation is still being reviewed and cancellation of exams and marking students on basis of previous exams is still an option,” a source said.
Meanwhile, the CICSE board has asked its affiliated schools to submit an average of marks obtained by class 12 students in class 11 and during this session. While there is no clarity from the board whether the exercise hints at the possible cancellation of exams, schools have already started working to meet the June 7 deadline set by the board.
The Ministry of Education, however, maintained that ”nothing has been finalised yet and a final decision will be announced by June 1. The minister has already stressed that safety of students is a priority but these exams are crucial too”.
The Supreme Court will also hear on May 31 a plea seeking directions to cancel the class 12 exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) amidst the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
”Be optimistic. Maybe by Monday (May 31), some resolution will be there,” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari told the petitioner in a hearing on Friday.
Amid continuing demands for cancellation of exams by a large section of students and parents, the ministry had called a high-level meeting last Sunday to deliberate on the issue which was also attended by state education ministers and education secretaries. The CBSE had proposed two options — conducting regular exams for only major subjects at notified centres or holding shorter-duration exams at the school where a student is enrolled.
The proposed timeline for conducting the exams was between July 15 to August 26 and declaring the results in September. States were asked to submit detailed suggestions by May 25. The majority of states opted for the second option which included conducting 90 minutes exams for major subjects at student’s home schools. Few states also insisted on vaccinating students before going ahead with the exams.
The CICSE which has been completely silent so far about its plan for the class 12 exams, sent out a letter to its affiliated schools on May 27 to submit the average of marks obtained by class 12 students in class 11 and during this session. ”The CISCE is in the process of collating and collecting data from all our schools presenting candidates for the class 12 examination. You are, therefore, requested to provide the requested information for class 12 candidates,” CISCE Secretary Gerry Arathoon said in a letter to school principals marked as ”strictly confidential”.
The information sought by the board includes — the average marks of subjects scored by the candidates in class 11 (2019-20) and average marks of subjects scored in various tests and examinations conducted by the school during class 12 (2020-21).
There was no response from Arathoon about whether the exercise hits at alternative assessment instead of offline exams, affiliated schools, however, confirmed that they have received the letter.
Both the boards had postponed the class 12 exams scheduled in May-June in view of the aggressive second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both CBSE and ICSE had also cancelled class 10 exams.