Class XII students who have been preparing for their board exams for months are in limbo as government is yet to take a call on holding offline examination this year. Stressed and anxious, the students are now eagerly awaiting June 1 when the final decision will be taken.
Gayathri Mani talked to students, parents, teachers and experts on their concerns, expectations and views on whether offlinev exams should be held or not.
Sathbhrawan Arya Girls Senior Secondary School, Karol Bagh
"The government has left the students in a lurch. Now, we are waiting for 1st June. It is like result are being announced before the exams and this waiting time- thinking whether exams will be held or not, will our year long hard work just go in vein, will they cancel the entrance exams... is just killing me mentally," says Madhuri.
She is in favour of holding the exams but with all safety and precautions. She also thinks students should be vaccinated.
“In the past year, I faced many challenges, but stayed strong and prepared for the exams. I an from a poor family and lost my grandfather to Covid and everyone at home was sick but we all came over,” she says.
St. Marks School
Shaurya wants to pursue Psychology and become a clinical psychologist and. She believes that the government should take a decision soon as it is keeping students in a dilemma.
“I don’t know why they are so adamant about conducting the exams. They should come up with an internal assessment-based result. Even if they are conducting offline examinations, they be should sure about it. Why do they want an offline exam when they are having online meetings and why do they want us to put our lives at risk? Even last year, students were promoted via assessments. We are receiving news of deaths every day. So, holding an exam at such time is not appropriate. "
GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj
Aryan is against the offline exams and believes that the exams should be cancelled keeping in mind the pandemic.
“I personally feel that exams should be cancelled and students should be promoted on the basis of internal assessment, pre-board results and previous exams. The students are not mentally prepared to write the exams with so much going around. I don’t have any problem in giving exams but almost everyone in my class wants the exams to be cancelled. There is no surety of vaccination and there are lakhs of students and you cannot vaccinate them all,” he says.
Bharatiya Mahila Vidyalaya, Shahdhara
A namika is a Science student and want to become a neurologist.
“If the government cancels the board exams which is said to be the first step of future, will they also cancel entrance exams like NEET, JEE and others? According to me, the government should conduct offline board exams for Class XII after vaccinating us. It may postpone the exams for another month but exams should not be cancelled.” she says.
According to her, only those students who were not studying and had stopped preparing for the exams are against holding them.
Loreto Convent School, Delhi Cantonment
Preet is also in favour of holding exams.
“Exams should be held with proper safety measures. Internal marking would be very unfair as we had an online examination. Students who cheated would be at an advantage while those who wrote honestly will be at a loss,” she says.
“In future, if we are asked about our class 12th percentage in a job interview, how are we going to answer? If we say that we were a Covid batch, no one will understand and it will affect our career. Thus, the issue should be addressed properly instead of making it a political issue.”
Dwarka International School
Rupansh says exams should not be held if there is still uncertainty.
“The government should first vaccinate the children. If the government decides to conduct exams in next one month, are they sure cases will not increase again or a third wave won’t come? Will they take their decision back then?” asks Rupansh.
“Many of my friends have lost their close family members. My father had Covid and I was so afraid. I feel offline exams are not an option. If some students who want give exams, the government should consider two options- offline exams and results on internal assessment.”
Manav Sthali School
The right thing to do is to postpone the exams as there is no advantage in cancelling the exams.
There will be no credibility and also how will you assess the students on the basis of internal assessment when there were no practical, internals tests or pre-boards conducted. We haven’t been to school for one year and gave all tests and exams online.
Online exams have no credibility. So, in my opinion, offline exams should be conducted but not now. Meanwhile, the government should work on procuring vaccinations in bulk and vaccinate all the students, says Umar.
Delhi government school, Zakhira
Government should hold the exams with all safety and precautions. It should also vaccinate the students, says Priyanka.
“We have studied hard, so please don’t throw our hard work in garbage.” Priyanka, who live in a JJ area and shares a one-room accommodation with his father, mother and four siblings, says, “We are facing problems financially and mentally. But, I studied hard as I am the only hope of my family and the first to graduate school. If exams are not held, it will affect my percentage and I will face problem in college. I want to become a teacher and marks matters a lot.”
Principal, Mamta Modern Sr Secondary School
CBSE is stuck because it does not have any formal assessment policy and the Class XII certificate and marksheet is very important for children who are moving abroad for higher education, says Pallavi Sharma.
“This is the last year of school and to get admission to any university, you need to have the 12th standard marksheet. If board exams are not conducted then how will the children be given admission? For Class X, schools were told that periodic tests and internal tests will be conducted but there is no such thing with class XII and it will be a big problem if there is no assessment,” she says, adding, “The university admission pattern has not changed in the last 70 years. So, in my personal view, the UGC needs to revamp the admission procedure in universities.”
Sharma believes that it is going to be very hard to convince the parents because the children would be travelling in public transport as not everyone owns a personal vehicle.
Even if children do not get the coronavirus, they may carry back to their home to their parents or affect any elderly relatives.
Conducting exams is the biggest concern for CBSE and schools.
The principal further added that six students in her schools have lost their fathers and are not mentally and psychologically prepared for the exams. It is going to be difficult situation to prepare the parents and students.
Mamta V Bhatnagar
Director and Founder Principal, Manav Sthali School
In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting CBSE board exam is not feasible at all, says Mamta V Bhatnagar.
“The new strain of coronavirus has led to an increase in concerns due to its ability of high transmission. The lives of our children are precious and we would never want to them put them in danger. Parents are anxious too about sending their wards to the examination centers. Allowing students in exam centers will be precarious and even safety of lives of teachers and staff would be at stake.”
“The students have been attending online classes since the beginning of this session. It is time, that we adopt alternative methods of assessment and evaluation. We should not jeopardize our children who are nation’s supreme asset,” she says.
Educationist and Professor at Delhi University’s adult learning and education department
"Nearly 80-85 students are not mentally prepared to write the examinations. The parents are scared for their children’s health and safety. So, the both the centre and states should first think and plan to create a friendly environment among the parents and students about the exams."
"The parents and students need support from the government and belief that their children would be safe out there and the exam will be student friendly. For, which the government should also build an infrastructure and should show it to the parents and the students to give them strength to fight the anxiety and fear. Then, it should plan whether to conduct exams offline mode or any mode.”
Principal, Sarvodya Kanya Bal Vidyalaya, Jhilmil
"Honestly, the students don’t take the pre-board exams seriously. They focus on final exams and have been preparing and doing hard work for that. The board exams are the only option especially for government school students as ultimately the marks matter in UG admissions. So, the government needs to come up with a plan to conduct exams as well safety of the students.”
Education Advisor to Delhi government
"Nobody knows when the situation will become normal. It is also anticipated that a probable third wave might impact children more seriously. You cannot wait for the situation to normalise. You have to take a decision now based on the current situation, so that the children are not subjected to more anxiety.”
“We are of the view that offline exams should not be conducted. For offline exams, we should get our children vaccinated first. If vaccination is not possible then the result should be declared on the basis of the students’ historical reference and performance in last several years,” he says.
Sharma further said that the University and colleges should also adopt some new criteria or formula to conduct admissions in these circumstances.
Mixed Feelings among parents also over exams
“The exams should be held because children have been preparing for long and it is a question of their future. The government should vaccinate the children soon. Many students have gone through difficult situations due to the pandemic. I also had Covid and was admitted to a hospital. This affected my son mentally and he could not get time to study. So, the government should give two months’ time, vaccinate all and then conduct the board exams.”
“As a parent, my opinion is that exams should be conducted be it offline or online mode. If we can hold Panchayat elections in UP and assembly elections in West Bengal, then why boards examinations should not be conducted in the entire India? If there is a will, there is a way. The students have prepared for more than a year, so exams should be conducted”.
“The government should not play politics and cancel the exams and promote students on the basis of internal assessments. The students these days think they know everything but they don’t know risk of the virus and how it can put a person’s life in danger.”
2.6 lakh: Students enrolled for CBSE XII board exams in Delhi.
1.6 lakh: Students from government-run schools in CLASS 12.
1 lakh: Students from private and unaided schools Enrolled in CLass 12.
1 lakh : Teachers in Delhi's schools.
150+: Teachers died due to Covid-19 so far.