Overwhelming response from Delhi teachers, students to cancel board exams: Sisodia

The meeting was held on the eve of a high-level meeting to be chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to decide on holding Board exams, which were postponed in view of the second wave of Covid-19.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Saturday consulted teachers, principals and students of Delhi schools regarding the possibility of conducting the Class XII board exams. He also took to social media to seek suggestions.

The meeting was held on the eve of a high-level meeting to be chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to decide on holding Board exams, which were postponed in view of the second wave of Covid-19. It will also include Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal among others. All state education ministers will also be present in the meeting.

In a statement, the Delhi government said “most teachers, principals and children are of the view to cancel 12th Board Exams”.

“The consensus that emerged from all meetings with these key stakeholders was that in the absence of vaccines to children, conducting any kind of examinations will only make our students and teachers more vulnerable to the virus,” it said.

Sisodia also said “obsession with examination will not serve any purpose” and “will only create more problems for students”.

“Majority of school teachers and principals present at this meeting concurred that final grades should be awarded on the basis of unit tests, practical examinations, general tests, and pre-Board exams already conducted in February-March 2021,” the government said.

“In addition, teachers and students also suggested that the ‘historical reference’ of students performance, that is, past grades, projects, activities be taken into account for the final evaluation. Options of taking exam be exercised by only those who are willing to take it,” it added.

Ashok Pandey, Director of the Ahlcon Group of Schools, also said holding the Class XII exams was not feasible. “Under these circumstances, the option of a physical board exam is completely out. Now the question is how to evaluate. In my opinion, one model could be evaluating along the lines of Class X students. The other model could be if we could consider shifting the entire process of evaluation to individual schools, based on an overall standard,” he said.

Mount Abu School Principal Jyoti Arora said the feedback she had received from parents was divided: “About 50% don’t want the Class XII Board exams to be held, but there are also an equal number of students who said they have studied for a year and they want to take the exam now.”

The overwhelming opinion in favour of cancelling the Board exams was also visible when Sisodia took to Twitter and Instagram to seek suggestions.

“Centre Govt. has invited all education ministers to discuss possibilities to conduct 12th Board & entrance exams. I would request teachers/parents/students to give suggestions here, so that best decision can be made considering the future of our students,” he tweeted.

Sumanjeet Sharma, a social activist, said, “Exams can be conducted/given after a year also, but right now we should safeguard our children as the third wave of Covid is likely to affect them more. It would be a foolishness if we send our children to school/exam centres. Online exam for class XII students wouldn’t be right (sic).”

A student, Ananya, wrote, “In unprecedented times like these wherein children of 17-18 years of age are having to deal with immense grief, trauma and loss of loved ones, it’s unfair to ask us to risk our lives for an offline exam, methodology for internal assessment should be developed.”

On Instagram too, nearly everyone demanded cancellation of exams. Some said it should be made optional. On alternative ways of assessment, various suggestions were given including considering marks of the last three years, evaluating on the basis of internal assessment and pre-boards, or considering class X marks.

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