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Q: Should the class X board examinations be made optional?
This is the second instalment of readers’ response

Streamline the entire examination system

The Class X board examinations have great value and significance. If these are made optional, then how could the performance of teachers be judged? The move will tell upon the competitive spirit of students who prepare for exams with gusto to outshine one another. There is no force in the argument that making of board examinations optional will free the students from stress, when life itself has many trials and troubles. There is need to streamline the whole examination system, so that students could regard exams as a joyous event.

Gone are the days when teachers were religiously devoted to this pious profession. Many decades ago, Tilok Chand Mahroom, who himself was a teacher, said: Jo ik nigaah sey kartey they khaak ko akseer/ Kahaan gaey voh mo’allam voh mehrbaan ustaad (Where have gone those kind pedagogues and teachers, who transformed dust into elixir with a single look at it)? The education system has degenerated terribly since then. Quite a large number of teachers are not proficient in their subjects and perform duty in a slipshod manner. Large-scale absenteeism among them vitiates the academic atmosphere. Many unscrupulous teachers encourage students to use unfair means in examinations. It is high time that authorities concerned exercise strict supervision and push up the perfunctory teachers to pull their weight.


Provide amicable atmosphere

The class X board examinations play a vital role in grooming the future of students. But it turns out to be a horrible experience for a number of students and their families. Newspapers have been regularly reporting the incidents of suicide attempts by students. Such cases are on the rise due to the growing expectations of parents and tough competition. To overcome such incidents, the students should be provided with an amicable atmosphere at school and at home. They should be made to take part in extra-curricular activities, so that they are relieved of undue stress caused by the faulty education system. Therefore, considering these factors, board examinations should be made optional.

— NITI SODHI, Chandigarh

Lay emphasis on vocational courses

Making class X board examinations optional is not a favourable decision, as it can create disparity among the students. If the majority of students don’t opt for the board examination, later on they may suffer from inferiority complex in comparison to rest of the students. Teachers too will become more lethargic, partial and ineffective. They will have to face the local pressure for giving high marks to select students. Moreover the spirit of our National Policy of Education, which is still in its infancy, will be hurt. So, instead of making board exams optional, more emphasis should be laid on vocational courses to create more job opportunities.


Indian students are brilliant

The class X board examinations are horror for most of the students, but it’s wrong to think that by making these optional we will offer a solution to the problem. This type of step can only give students some temporary psychological relief, but it’ll not be for real.

Indian students are known for their minds the world over in every stream, but if this type of step is taken, it will ruin their creativity.

The students will have some relief, but it will create another big problem for them in future. Presently, the time is of competition and struggle for admission in good streams and institutes`A0for bright career. The class X board examinations are not hollow, but have an important meaning in life. It’s a step towards the future struggles and competitive path that lay ahead. You cannot choose not to choose walking this path. Students should easily face the pressures that come their way, if they apply their minds.


Reforms can be exploited

The CBSE has made a mockery of the education system by allowing the students to choose their own examination schedule. It has agreed to evaluate the students on the basis of the grading system, while internal assessment will contribute 20 per cent to the final score of the student. The drawback of this system is that it will encourage corrupt individuals to gain access to the so-called "foolproof system" through the money power, leaving out the brilliant students. The system has already deteriorated to such an extent that students feel jittery while taking examination. The decision to introduce environment education as a separate subject is praiseworthy, as it will help in shaping the personality of students. It will help future generation to be able to make judgments concerning the environment.


Innovative measures needed

Today’s competitive era is based upon the motto "strive hard and excel". In such a challenging environment, making class X board examinations optional is not justifiable because it will inculcate the habit of escapism into students. The Class X examinations imbibe the competitive spirit in students and acquaint them with the important aspects of time-management, mental quickness, planning, etc. at a very appropriate stage. In real terms, innovative measures`A0are required`A0to reform the examination system. There is a need to adopt a uniform curriculum nationwide. More emphasis should be laid on transforming quantitative text into qualitative content and improving the transparency and accountability of the education system. If taken with sincerity, these measures can surely help reduce stress and enhance the efficiency`A0of students in examinations.


Handle board examinations intelligently

The board examination tests the ability of students and infuses the spirit of competitiveness into them. It motivates them to learn more and develop good study skills. If the fear of exams goes from the mind of students, they may not pursue their studies seriously.

The old adage, "Spare the rod and spoil the child", is still relevant, as only the fear of exams compels the students to strive hard. Once these exams are made optional, the falling standard of education will further deteriorate.`A0If we want to produce scientists of international repute, able administrators, efficient managers, technocrats, economists, legal luminaries, deft parliamentarians, motivated and dedicated social activists of the yore, class X board exams should not be made optional. Rather these should be handled intelligently, as these lay the foundation of future.


Change the pattern of exams

The approval by the Central Advisory Board of Examination to the proposal of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) to make the class X examinations optional is highly commendable. Children who wish to proceed to class XI in the same school could do so after an internal examination; others may opt to take the board examinations. This will definitely make the assessment or the evaluation process less stressful.

Examinations have never been, and are never likely to be a true indicator of intellect. The futility of examinations, especially the board examinations, has wreaked havoc on the young lives.

It has been observed that too many examinations at the board level disturbs the natural psychological balance of children, sometimes to the extent of critical consequences, such as, it can make children dysfunctional. The NCF has also suggested an overhaul of the present system of evaluating students. It has been suggested to shift from the content-based testing to the problem solving skill and analytical reasoning.

Although it is impossible to have exam-free schooling, the stress among students can be reduced by changing the pattern of exams in evaluating the learning modes such as memory, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, etc. The current marks-oriented system should be replaced by the grade system.

— DR. S. K. AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Board exams must for better results

Eminent teachers/scholars may have different views on it, but as a student of class XII, I find board examinations very useful to students. Since the result of a house examination is in the hands of teachers, some of them may misuse their position by awarding good marks to their favourite students. Board examinations, on the other hand, leave a very little chance for such manipulations because a teacher can’t influence board officials for procuring good marks for his students. In such a case, teachers will have to toil in the classroom to show better results. The marks obtained in class X are still on my fingertips, but I fail to remember the marks obtained in class XI, which shows the importance of board examinations. So, the authorities concerned should devise some other ways to reform the examination system.



In the past, various education boards conducted the class VIII and X examinations to examine the vision, aggressiveness of the students towards education, while their overall conduct during their stay at the school and the marks secured in these exams helped them chalk out their future academic career.

In the present global education system, the preference is being given to technical education. The class X board exams should not be made optional because these exams verify the intelligence of students and help them prepare for the varied professions like medical, engineering, computer science and IT. Apart from class X, the exams of XI and plus two classes should also be conducted by school education boards or universities to instill confidence into the students, so that they can be ready for future challenges of life. Instead of making the class X board exams optional, the government should provide free education to the poor and weaker sections of society up to class X to uplift their economic status.

SIMMI MOHINDRU, Jalandhar City


The class X board examinations should not be made optional, as they put a reasonable psychological pressure on students to keep them active in their studies with a view to compete at both all-India and state levels. These exams are necessary for the intellectual growth of students and to face various challenges at the plus-two level as well as competitive admission tests to enter professional and technical colleges. If the board exams are made optional, then there is every possibility of the students getting inactive waiting for the plus two examinations for doing the necessary preparation. Hence, the class X board exams should remain compulsory.

MANJIT SINGH, Chandigarh

Exams are needed

It is not advisable and desirable at all to do away with the class X board examinations. The main concern should be how to raise the standard of education, so that students may come off with flying colours in the competitive globalised society. There is no denying the fact that both teachers and students try to put in their best efforts for the board examination. Teachers take pain because their performance is at stake, while students know that their poor result will block their future prospects.

There can be no two opinions about the fact that in the house examination, both teachers and students adopt very casual and relaxed attitude toward studies. Teachers are invariably too liberal in awarding awards only to win applause from parents and school authorities. The results of the house examinations are often misleading, and are not at all reflective of the true academic attainments of students.

In today’s commercialised society, teachers can’t discharge their duty sincerely unless they are made accountable for the results. Under such circumstances, it would amount to playing havoc with the existing system; howsoever defective it may be, to replace the board examination with the house examination.

— R. L. GOEL, Ladwa

Divide the curriculum into two parts

Class X plays a vital role in preparing student for higher education. In this class, the students have to clear a number of subjects, which help them choose the field of their interest.

As a teacher, my point of view is that making class X board examinations optional is not an appropriate action in the present scenario. Instead, the examination pattern should be reformed by dividing the whole curriculum into two major parts. The examinations of the first part should be conducted by schoolteachers, as they are the best judges of students. While giving due weightage to various factors such as fieldwork, practical performance, class attendance and tests, a report card should be prepared and be sent to the board concerned. In the second phase, the board should conduct the examinations of the second part of the curriculum.

Though students may find themselves under less stress, it will make the teachers more accountable because they will have to show results to the board. If board examinations are made optional, the teachers may take less interest in studies and the parents will never be able to know the performance of their wards.



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