Khurram Nayab, whose daughter has to sit for the board examinations, declared, “I am not in favour of physical tests. Either conduct online exams or allocate marks based on internal assessment.” Nayab’s daughter, a student of Delhi Public School, turns 18 only in August so isn’t eligible for Covid vaccination before the exams, though Delhi’s deputy CM Manish Sisodia has suggested to the central government to have Class XII students vaccinated on a priority.
According to a Delhi government official, there is a wider consensus among school principals and parents this year on cancelling exams than last year. Around 13 lakh city children are registered to appear for the Class XII exams, a majority of the students of government schools. Overall, 1.2 crore students are set to sit for the Class XII exams across India.
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Arguing against CBSE’s options, Shailendra Sharma, education advisor to the Delhi government, reasoned, “The vulnerability of the child does not decrease if the test is for 90 minutes instead of three hours or there are fewer papers to write. The virulence we have seen in the current infection indicates that social distancing might not be enough to prevent infection. Even if exams are held in the students’ school itself instead of external exam centres, the children will still need to travel, take public transport.”
Sharma’s alternative to exams: “Take historical references since the Class XII examinees have already sat for their Class X, Class XI exams and pre-board exams. CBSE can create an analysis framework. If a student is not fully satisfied by such an assessment, the option of an exam when the situation improves can be given. That way, assessment of 80% of the examinees is resolved.”
While emphasising that children not content with the assessment in such a format must be allowed to sit for tests, Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, added that CBSE’s suggestion on reducing the number of tested subjects wasn’t fair. “Class XII students are given the option of studying four subjects other than a language from a list of over 100 subjects. So, every subject chosen by the student is a major one,” Wattal pointed out.
The concern of a few parents that an alternative assessment might not be accepted by overseas universities was addressed by Arti Gupta, principal, Amity International School. Gupta, who looks after the IB programme in the school, revealed, “Universities in US, UK, and Australia have already admitted IB students based on predicted grades. The IB board’s final grades will be determined by internal assessment grades and predicted grades, the latter given by subject teachers based on student’s performance throughout the course. This grading process shouldn’t put students applying abroad in any problem.”