The students who are supposed to appear in the Class 12 board examinations this year have suggested a few “innovative ways” to evaluate them in view of Covid-19 making it “unsafe” to assess them in the conventional manner, especially as some students may not be in the right frame of mind due to the loss of loved ones amid the pandemic.
The issue has gained importance as the Class 12 exams have been delayed due to the second wave of Covid-19 and the Union education ministry is mulling over various options before taking a decision on the exams. The decision is expected in early June.
The suggestions include having personal interviews with students via video calls, gauging the “real understanding” of the students rather than their learning capacity and devising a “fair” system so that no one would be at the risk of infection.
Achint Marwa, a student of La Martiniere Girls’ College, said, “The Council (for the Indian School Certificate Examinations) should come out with some innovative ways to evaluate students on basis of their real understanding of the subjects vis-a-vis just the learning capacity. For example, the board may consider having subject-wise personal interviews with students via video calls where a student can actually explain her understanding rather than just ensuring the use of key words.”
“The board should also take note of the fact that there would be many students who have lost their loved ones. Their emotional state will definitely affect performance. As for the exams, I feel that there should be a proper system of calculating marks and not a mere estimate based on class 10 marks or internal exams,” she said.
Likewise, Nandini Goel, a CBSE class 12 board examinee at GD Goenka Public School, Lucknow, said if exams were to be conducted, they should explore safer alternatives.
“Class 12 examinations are extremely important, but not at the cost of students’ health and lives. There are students who have lost their closed ones and aren’t in the right frame of mind,” she said.
Nandini added, “The situation in the country has just started to improve. But if lakhs of students step out of their homes to give offline board (exams) without vaccination, the situation will revert to what it was one month ago. The students will not only risk their lives but also lives of teachers, their family members and anyone else who they may come in contact with. It’s easy to think that all the Covid norms will be followed and no casualty would take place.”
Hina Naela, a CBSE class 12 examinee said, “We appear for assessments so as to measure our academic understanding and progress. After nearly 18 months of Covid curbs, the mental health of Class of 2021 has been gravely damaged. We are not able to concentrate, because our thoughts are centred around death and desolation. The bottom line is, if board examinations do happen, they would be a mere formality, since no student will actually sit for the papers prepared. Our performance will be compromised beyond doubt.”
“Why must we be so dead-set on conducting exams in an unsafe environment, when the students are in no state to write the answers. Instead, given the expertise of our educators and the ministry, a fair evaluation system can be devised for students Holding Grade 12 examination, in any format, in any mode, for any subject, serves no purpose, except putting lives of lakhs of students in danger for the sake of fulfilling an age-old requirement, safer alternatives to which can be devised,” said this student of GD Goenka Public School, Lucknow.
Aryaman Tripathi, a student of Study Hall School, said, “The board exams shouldn’t take place because the lives of the students are more precious than the academic scores they’ll achieve. The board can find some other alternative like they did for class 10. And if they want the commencement of the exams, then they can have it after the Covid-19 situation eases because if there is even one fatality due to the offline exams, then it would be a great shame.”
However, there are students who are keen to appear in offline examinations. For instance, Aditya Saxena, student of class 12 Study Hall said, “I want to give offline exam in my school itself, one language and three subjects of choice will be better. It can be a 90-minute paper with multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short questions.”
Ketav Rastogi, student of St Francis’ College, said he was in favour of the exams being conducted in the way they were every year as the class 12 result played a pivotal role in transition from school to college life.
“If the exams were to get cancelled, the hard work of the past one and a half years would go down the drain,” he said.
Mayur Mayank of Study Hall said, “Only the major subjects should be examined, maximum three subjects. The remaining subjects should be marked internally. Also, the paper should be of two hours instead of three hours, to reduce the sitting time in the exam room. All protocols should be followed strictly.”
The ball is now in the court of the ministry of education, said CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations) chief executive and secretary Gerry Arathoon on Tuesday.
Union minister of education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has already held a meeting with education ministers across the country on Sunday. The ministry may take some decision on class 12 board exams by June 1. Both CBSE and CISCE decided to cancel class 10 examination and students of this class will be awarded marks on the basis of internal assessments.