Online Twist to Indian Board Exam Stress

DUBAI - It’s that time of the year again when board examination stress looms large over Indian households. Students and parents have started experiencing sleepless nights as the countdown for Grade X and Grade XII examinations begins this year.

By Preeti Kannan & Afshan Ahmed

Published: Sun 22 Feb 2009, 1:29 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:26 PM

Though every waking hour is spent going over lessons, the pressure to work harder keeps mounting. With less than two weeks to go, it is no surprise that students burn the proverbial midnight oil.

Even though board examination is inseparable from the Indian education system, the Internet has started playing an increasingly important role in preparations.

From scouring for resource materials, to solving answer papers, exchanging notes and seeking clarifications from teachers, teens today are tech-savvy. The guides or reference books, usually the haunt of Grade X and Grade XII pupils, are getting old-fashioned with a host of web sites promising easier access.

“We have created an official mailing group for the class of 65 students and even teachers are part of this. Whenever any of us come across any helpful sample papers or question banks on the net, we post it on the group for others to refer. Similarly, we require clarifications from our teachers, we send out an e-mail to the forum with our questions and the teacher immediately responds,” says Sruti Sundar, a Grade X student.

“The Internet is pretty resourceful and the entire class keeps in touch through e-mails. This helps us work as a team and discuss our progress. The Internet is a faster and easier way to communicate and look for resource material unlike guides that are voluminous,” says Sundar.

Sai Krishna Menon, another Grade X student, said he and his friends also rely on the Internet to download sample exam papers. “ “Answer sheets of the previous years’ toppers are posted on the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) web site. These papers give us an insight on how to go about writing our exams,” said Menon.

Online tuitions are also popular with a number of students being coached by teachers based in India.

Even teachers are keeping pace with the new-age learning techniques, providing students with the much-needed support. Fat guides have been substituted for the Internet to enhance performances of their pupils.

“Students are on study leave and at this time we monitor their progress through the Internet,” said Geetha Murali, a Grade XII Biology teacher.

Each class has a common email  where students can pose questions for the teacher.

“Students can send in doubts and we respond to them on the common mail or their personal mail,” added Mathematics teacher, Sajana Santosh.

They also compile questions and send out worksheets on topics that students find particularly hard. “We prepare question papers and post it on the class id. We correct them and send our feedback,” said Murali.

Schools, on their part, have been stressing on the use of technology to make education more student-friendly. “Guides are no longer the know-it-alls. We do not subscribe to the short cut methods of these guides. Internet sources and references are completely up to date and easier to comprehend. All we need to do is find the right links and send them across to all the students,” said Murali.

Despite the changing preparation methods, the ‘burden of the boards’ continue to weigh heavy on the young shoulders, as they grapple with the expansive syllabus.

Echoing these sentiments, Indrani Sen concedes that a student’s capabilities cannot be judged in just three hours time.

 “The average of a student’s performance in probably three tests should be taken. There is sometimes way too much importance attached to the whole concept of board exams. To some extent, it is extra pressure. Though it is necessary at times, I think the system should help alleviate stress,” she says.

Parents, on the other hand, also agree but say it’s hard to avoid the anxieties that go along with these exams.

“It pains me to watch my son labour this way or even ask him to study. Unfortunately, the reality is that these exams are tough and the competition to secure a good college gets harder by the year. Students, who are average scorers, find the going even tougher,” said a parent, whose son is appearing for the Grade XII exams. ,

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