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

Conventions are hard to change

Instead of changing the established pattern, design and conventions of the education system, the authorities concerned should lay emphasis on preserving the academic environment in educational institutions. The courses and syllabi should be more practical oriented and after attaining the basic education, students should strive to be an asset to society.

The examinations conducted by various boards bring confidence and change in the outlook of even average students. The ability, strength and basic approach of teachers are also put to test when their students take the examination outside their supervision.

It is high time for academicians to do some introspection and examine carefully whether the ongoing changes in the education system are really going to help teacher and students.


Abolish exams

Matriculation board examinations should be abolished; there should be no reason to make these even optional. In earlier days, there was much importance attached to the matriculation examination; being matriculate meant something big, but as time changed, matriculation lost importance.

It is now just a simple step on the ladder. Every professional or vocational stream prescribes class XII to be the minimum qualification, and then, one has to appear for the entrance test, too. Nobody bothers even if you are distinction holder in the matriculation examination.

Moreover, most of the schools have already upgraded to the 10+2 system and one can easily complete one’s secondary education from one school alone and hardly ever would you need to change school. Abolishing the matriculation board examinations would also reduce greatly the expenditure on conducting the tests and checking answer-books.

Many of the schools earn big amounts even when their own school-leaving students get admission in 10+2 on the basis of re-admission fees, capitation fee, donation, etc.

If there were no matriculation board examinations, their means of making huge ill-gotten wealth will also be stopped; rest, it would be the same and simple procedure, as one is promoted from class VII class VIII. SURAJ K. KAPOOR, Solan

Focus rather on conduct

There is no harm in matriculation examination remaining mandatory. The need of the hour is rather to bring a change in the way these examinations are conducted, accentuating on lessening the pressure on adolescents.

The final examinations of ninth standard should be abolished and a student clearing eighth standard should be considered eligible to appear for the matriculation examination. The syllabus of the final examinations after tenth should be from the curriculum for the ninth and tenth standards. Tests in these two classes should be held every three months and the emphasis should be on preparing students for the final examinations.

The final grading for tenth standard shouldn’t be based on written test alone, but participation in extra-curricular activities should also count. A rule should be introduced to entitle students to re-appear for examination in the subject "they" think they haven’t fared well.



Failing students will be promoted

Class X board examinations should never be made optional. Rather all boards of education should conduct examinations for classes V, VIII, X and XII so that students become so habitual of appearing in tough examinations that no future test should hold any fear for them.

Students studying in class XI in various schools are promoted to class XII even if they have not secured the minimum percentage of marks required to pass the examination, simply due to the fear of the management that such students would shift to other schools and reduce the income of the school. Likewise, if the boards do not conduct the class X examinations, more failing students will continue to be promoted even if with a low percentage of marks.

It maters whether the school is affiliated to the CBSE or the ICSE or any state education board and whether it is situated in rural or urban area and whether it is a government or private school.

Students with a poor educational background, when they get admission in colleges, put teachers in an awkward position because such students can neither speak out nor understand the lectures delivered in classroom. Consequently, most of them drop out of college in mid-session. Hence, by scrapping the class X board examinations, the education standard that has already fallen, will deteriorate further.



You do need matric certificate

Making the class X board examinations optional will not be justified because it is a critical juncture in a student’s career. Matriculation is still a qualification that is taken into consideration for recruitment in government jobs and sitting in many competitive examinations.

Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana gives an opportunity to matriculates to set up their own independent businesses by availing themselves of the easy-loan facility. Students who are unable to continue their studies due to financial problems will benefit. Moreover, if these examinations are made optional, students will become idle and no longer serious towards their studies. Teachers will become even more irresponsible and unconcerned towards them. Students should ever be kept busy and, instead of the lengthy syllabus, job-oriented curriculum should be introduced. The process of the class X board examinations should continue.

S. L. PATHANIA, Ambala Cantonment


Tests good for even weak students

Ordinarily, a class will have two categories of students—intelligent and no so brilliant. Take students of the first category; their parents and teachers would want to assess their performance and ability through a test like the class X board examinations, whereas, students of the second category would want promotion to the next class through the inexpensive mode of a school-leaving examination.

The remedy lies in maintaining the status quo, i.e., continuing the board examinations and not making these optional. However, the "not so brilliant" students should be given grace marks to a higher limit to make them pass and the fact should be duly recorded in their certificates.

There can never be parity on account of different persons having different "intelligence quotients", but the board examinations are still better than house tests.

Class X board examinations mark the first and class XII examinations the second critical point in a student’s academic career.



Boards will suffer financially

If the class X board examinations are made optional, it will adversely affect the finances and establishment of boards. A huge number of students appearing for board examinations are mainly responsible for the boards earning crores of rupees. It will be great financial loss to the boards, if these examinations were made optional.

The many boards of education have employed a large number of workers for the conduct of examinations. What will be their fate? They can neither be retrenched nor absorbed in any other government department.

The other alternative is internal assessment based on daily performance or weekly/monthly tests and co curricular activities.

The government schools of Punjab lack infrastructure and basic amenities. Thousands of posts of teacher are vacant. Who will assess the work of students?

All teachers are not all that efficient and dependable. Lack of independent assessment will lead to favouritism and wrong assessment. Dropouts appear though open schools and acquire basic qualification to prepare for higher examinations. If boards examinations were made optional, they would get no chance.

The class X examinations are standardised tests, if conducted under a centralised authority; otherwise, these would vary from school to school.

The solution of the problem does not lie in abolishing, but improving.

The question papers should be so devised as to evaluate skill and intelligence, too, and not just the power to memorise. The conduct of examinations and evaluation of scripts should be made more dependable and transparent.

IQBAL SINGH, Anandpur Sahib


Create no more bookworms

Stop creating bookworms; instead, create (more) Sania Mirzas. The secret of success is to understand that you are the final measure of everything you accomplish. For that, that work alone is noble which ennobles its creator. Considering this, why not compare the performance of Indian students with that of the exotic breeds (foreign students).

Have you ever wondered how the Sanias, Irinas and Bindras cope up with their lives—domestic, social, personal and private—and the ingenuity in their respective wrestling pits? Have you ever witnessed how you all easily condemn their performances, occasionally? I bet, none of us has ever pondered over the latter part of it.

It’s all because we prefer becoming studious bookworms to being like students who exert themselves physically and take life head-on. If we look at "normal" students, we find that they have no wings; they find excuses for everything.

Let’s nor raise the Indian student on the bricks of stress; instead, platonic concept of education—highlighting the role of physical exertion in positivity—should be incorporated. What will we do after 35, when we’ll be (in any case, possibly not) married, dwarf-like, wearing gawky looks and unwanted pair of spectacles over beautiful eyes?

Let us fly, as we students are not meant to test the stress factor of the examination machine; rather, allow us to learn to tackle pressure like penguins. We’ll come good when required.



‘Optional’ is out; think CBSE

The decision to make future examination of class X optional is like playing with the future of students. There is a basic difference between how the rural and urban minds are based.

When the urban CBSE students are unable to meet the standards they need to show in the class X examinations, how can we expect perfection from the rural students?

We are not anti-reformists, but just disagreed with the viewpoint to make the class X board examinations optional. The examination should be conducted by the CBSE alone. No option should be given to the states. We also agree, to some extent, with the views of Mr R. N. Pal of Hisar, published in these columns on September 15.

These are the only common holistic examinations to judge the students and we can say that these tests form the base for the life ahead and not just the career.

We cannot fully trust the internal assessment as different schools set different standards for different students. Class X is the right time to evaluate the child for all his talents and the child can, thus, choose his future career on the basis of it. Evaluation after class X is too late to decide a better future.

ASHOK GUPTA and SUNAINA CHAWLA, Bhawanigarh (Sangrur)


Uniform syllabus is the answer

The class X board examinations are tests of the qualitative aspect, and to evaluate the pupil’s true level of competitiveness and preparation, the class X board examinations should not be made optional. If these were made optional, it would create more havoc among students.

Secondly, it is a crucial stage where pupils have to clear tests in all the major subjects, which become rather optional at the university level. After passing the class X board examinations, students are better able choose different fields according to their interest and the marks they have secured in these examinations.

Also, some children from the poor families set their aim to study up to class X and get a job (or they can then set up a small business and be self-employed). It is hard for them to study even up to this class, but the idea of making the class X board examinations optional will banish their dreams and the dreams of their parents.

Therefore, rather than making the class X board examinations optional, the system should prepare a single curriculum with uniform syllabus, so that it may be easy for the authorities concerned to assess every student.

ANJU ANAND, Chambaghat (Solan)


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