The CBSE’s declaration of the evaluation criteria for Class XII board exams comes as a breather for the lakhs of students who have been kept on tenterhooks throughout this pandemic-disrupted 2020-21 academic session. Whether relating to the opening of schools or the conduct of offline/online exams, the government/board decisions have been rather knee-jerk reactions to the unfolding situation. Uncertainty has marked the major part of the year. The possibility of holding exams went up and down in conjunction with the rising and falling Covid-19 waves. Even though fears of the coronavirus surging at regular intervals had been red-flagged, the authorities were caught unprepared with a plan in case the wisdom of scrapping the exams prevailed, keeping student-teacher safety on top. As the second wave wreaked havoc in March-May and the country found itself struggling with vaccination logistics or ensuring anti-Covid measures, some worried stakeholders sought the Supreme Court’s intervention for an early resolution.
It is only after June 1, when the CBSE Class XII exams were cancelled, that a committee was hurriedly set up to conceive an objective methodology to declare the results within a specific time-frame. Significantly, lifting their counterparts out of the same anxiety and limbo, it spurred the ICSE and various state boards to tackle the prickly issue similarly. The scores of classes X and XI final exams along with the internal assessments of Class XII will be variously factored in for a student’s CBSE Class XII results. The other boards are likely to follow suit.
However, July 31, the result date of the CBSE exam, which is the bridge to higher education, may be too late for some students looking for intake in the coming session or semester in colleges of their choice, especially abroad. It will also lead to a scramble as entrance tests for admissions to most institutions will be scheduled immediately after. The pandemic-induced upheaval suffered by the Covid batch should be an opportunity to streamline the education system. It needs to be nudged out of its hinge on a pressure-ridden examination method that lays undue stress on marks rather than fostering skills and critical thinking.
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