Only written exams! CBSE's head of academics clears air over finals

Dr Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Academics) of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

The ongoing academic year has been unique with classes being conducted online considering the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic. With more than half of the syllabus already covered online, school students, teachers and other related to the educational sector are set to face the exam season. However, several doubts, apprehensions and concerns remain to be addressed.

Dr Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Academics) of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), explains the plans of the Board regarding the conduct of the exams.

What are CBSE’s views regarding online classes?

Around 90 per cent of the schools are fully connected online and classes are being held regularly. However, nearly 30 per cent of the students enrolled in government schools affiliated to the CBSE are unable to take part in the online sessions. Directives have been issued to give individual attention to them. School authorities can hand over notes to them. The notes should be simple and short. Doubts can also be cleared over the phone. ‘Peer learning’, where students in senior classes coach juniors, is also being implemented.

Everyone is worried about the exams. Please comment on that.

Examinations will be conducted in the written mode, as usual. However, all COVID-19 protocols will be implemented without creating problems for the students. All students will not get equal facilities for online exams.

Some states have announced that final examinations in schools would be delayed this academic year. What about the CBSE?

Even though no final decision has been taken regarding the exams, the schedule and procedures would be announced without delay if the COVID-19 situation improves. But, CBSE will consider the demand from certain quarters for more time to hold the exams.

With no labs, how will you conduct practical exams?

In some schools, practical classes are being held. Practical exams will be arranged in those schools. However, as practical exams cannot be conducted in the other institutions, other methods to test the practical knowledge of students will be employed.

What are the changes being introduced by the CBSE to the exam system?

Last year, 10 per cent of the questions in the Class 10 exams were application-based. This year, such questions will be 20 per cent. Similarly, the Class 12 question paper will have 10 per cent application-based questions this year. The figure would be gradually increased to 60 per cent. Such changes would be introduced in the junior classes also. These measures are aimed to enhance the potential of students.

Could you explain the CBSE’s plans on implementing the National Education Policy?

We consider the policy as an excellent opportunity to raise the academic standards of schools. Apart from the changes in the exam system, programmes for skill development of teachers, checking the quality standards of schools and accreditation are to be introduced.

Co-curricular activities such as art festivals and science fairs have now come to a standstill. What solution can you offer?

Several co-curricular programmes are telecast on DIKSHA platform and SWAYAM PRABHA channel. Moreover, activities such as Aryabhatta Ganit Challenge, Science Olympiad and others are being organized. Everyone can take part in these programmes. 

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