How Board Exams Will be Conducted Amid Covid- 19?

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of many-from school-going children to the elderly, causing a paradigm shift in the way of life. The education sector has undergone several changes since the beginning of the crisis.

Since schools and colleges had to be shut, learning never stopped and the traditional method of classroom teaching transitioned to the virtual form. The new mode posed myriad challenges that were dealt with eventually.

What took a severe hit were examinations. In the wake of the recent massive surge in coronavirus cases, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) decided to cancel class 10 board exams and postponed class 12 examinations, giving relief to students across the country.

Following the news by CBSE, the Maharashtra board also announced the cancellation of SSC examinations in view to safeguard the health of students after the situation worsened. 

However, the state board examinations of class 12 are to held by the end of May. The ICSE class 10 board exam 2021 also stays cancelled as per the official announcement by the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations.

How Will the Marking System Be?

The CBSE has notified that an objective criterion decided by the board will be considered while formulating the results of class 10 students. No official announcement has been made yet as students still await further guidelines regarding evaluation. 

According to recent updates, the board has sought information about the internal assessment of students from most schools. The central board has also clarified that students who are not satisfied with their scores can reappear for optional board exams later that will be conducted when the coronavirus peak subdues. 

For class 12 students, a decision about the revised dates for CBSE exams will be taken after thoroughly reviewing the intensity of the second wave in the country, most likely after June 1, 2021. 

Regarding the Maharashtra Board, the authorities are mulling alternative methods of internal assessment to evaluate the performance of students. Further course of action will be shared soon. 

Impact of the Decision on Students

The latest announcement certainly gave a sigh of relief to a million students wary of risking their lives for the sake of an examination.The pandemic has caused emotional, physical, and mental upheaval for many who have lost their loved ones to the storm or have themselves suffered during this catastrophe. 

The mental health of several students is in shambles owing to the ravaging atmosphere around us. During these harrowing times, the safety and good health of students should be our top priorities. 

Travelling to the allotted exam centres and dealing with the financial burden associated with it surely pose challenges to students residing in rural areas who have faced troubles due to the non-availability of technology, uneven access to the internet, and bandwidth issues. 

Due to the changes in the way of education, students belonging to less privileged backgrounds have experienced enormous difficulties. Reduced family income and limited access to digital resources have only added to the stress.

The virus has unleashed its fury and virulent nature in the entire country that has been overburdened by the rising cases. The health infrastructure in India has cracked down to a point where we are facing an acute shortage of everything from medical oxygen to vaccines.

No matter what safety protocols are followed in the examination hall, conducting exams during these frightening circumstances does not seem a viable option because they involve physical presence and large crowding in areas where social distancing is violated.

Future of the Students at Stake

What seems like a rational decision might have some long-lasting consequences on the future of students. Board exams are believed to be the starting point of a student’s career. It gives the students a chance to face competition, handle stress, get an idea of where they stand, and contemplate their desired fields of study. 

The cancellation of exams may lead to uncertainty in the minds of those who are aspiring of pursuing their education abroad. It would also be unfair to students who have spent tireless hours preparing themselves for the final board exam and not internal assessments. 

Some might even take undue advantage of the situation and lose seriousness when it comes to studying. Students are also likely to be subjected to uneven scoring patterns in their internal tests leading to a majority of the population getting very high scores that might be deceiving. 

The evaluation criterion is bound to create more confusion among students and their parents unless proper guidelines are provided. 

What We Can Do

The shutdown of schools and colleges has resulted in a digital divide and a feeling of loneliness among many. The subsequent spikes have forced several children to opt-out of education and relocate to their native places for livelihood. 

It is natural for students to feel perplexed and worried about their future at a time when the entire nation is battling against a health crisis. The next few months are very crucial and we must ensure that the negative impact on students is lessened.  

Psychologists fear early cases of anxiety, depression, and other such concerns. Therefore, it is important for us to understand their woes and provide emotional support and guidance to children.

What students can do is work on projects, internships to gain real-life, practical experiences that will aid their future prospects of a bright career instead of relying solely on examination scores. 

Believe that this too shall pass and we will emerge stronger from this predicament.

Written by – Aishwarya Khandekar

Edited by - Nidhi Verma

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