CBSE exams: Students, parents on a rollercoaster ride of uncertainty


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Dubai - Experts speak about the effects of a delay in CBSE results on the minds of young adults


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 25 Jun 2021, 9:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Jun 2021, 10:58 PM

Students, parents and teachers of India curriculum schools have been on a rollercoaster ride ever since the pandemic hit.

First came isolation due to the scrapping on onsite schooling, followed by the issue of long hours hunched over computers at home, affecting their eyesight and overall health. Then came the uncertainty over when - if at all — exams will be held.

Then came the cancellation of board exams — that too after a lot of uncertainty — followed by the problem of assessment. And now that the final Grade 12 results have been delayed, students and parents are grappling with problems relating to admissions and future careers.

Educationists and counsellors say these factors must have definitely taken a toll on the wellbeing of students, parents and teachers.

After the cancellation of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (CISCE) Class XII board exams and the eventual deferment of final results students are now worried about submission of final assessments for college intakes at various overseas universities, reduced time for visa processing to foreign varsities due to delay in procurement of ultimate results, to even missing the university’s scholarship deadline.

Khaleej Times spoke to education experts, academicians, counsellors and students to gauge the adverse effects of this delay on the young adults and the coming academic year.

Sangita Chima, Amity School Dubai principal, said: “Evaluating a student on a new set of assessment criteria, which a student is unaware of and not familiar with, is unfair. Furthermore, this challenge impacts a crucial time in their life, and hence is clearly a cause for dissonance. The conflicting solutions to enable a future journey must however be allowed to progress.”

Chima added: “However, this assessment cycle will have an unpredictable impact on the academic cycle and the life of a young student. Many students will be disappointed as their aspirations in achieving accolades or admission to higher education institutions will now be showcased differently.

“The Covid-19 crisis has given an emergency indication to the CBSE Board to reform its assessment model. Dependency on one school examination to define a student’s future reflects a rigid process - of encouraging cramming, increasing stress and infusing intense competition.”

Missed opportunity

Educationists say the present assessment is a missed opportunity for many students who may have not performed well in Grade 11.

Sanjeev K Jolly, chairman, Gulf Sahodaya (CBSE Schools in the Gulf) & executive principal of GEMS Our Own High School — Al Warqa, Dubai, opined, “There are many such cases where we see an improvement of 15-25 per cent among those who were, in previous years, getting percentages of around the 60 and 70 mark. Many of these students exceed 80 per cent, and some even go up to 90 per cent in the final board exams. The environment of the board exam is inspiring in itself for many students, which is why these students have really missed an opportunity now.”

“The uncertainty of the exams has played on the minds of students, and some have found it difficult to focus, and as a result became distracted, due to the unknown factor of when the exams were going to be conducted. This also affected the home environment and their focus on applying to universities abroad, and the deferment of exams by the board has in this way affected some students”, adds Jolly.

Sunu David, career guidance counselor, Gulf Model School, pointed out that students and parents are both anxious as to what the results would turn out into, with some perplexed by the evaluation criteria and a few perceiving it as a great disadvantage.

“The parents’ anxiety is passed on to the students. One example is a well-prepared student who is all set to do better than the previous pre-boards couldn’t even sit for the exams due to cancellation. That student might have promised the parent that he or she would do better next time. Besides, delay in results has impacted their university admissions procedure and decision making towards what to pursue,” David adds.

Meanwhile, students feel trapped in an unsatisfactory situation due to the unprecedented situation.

Outgoing Grade XII student Dhyan Prasanthan said: “The deferment of the exams was stressful, not knowing if I do actually have exams or not. The evaluation criteria are kind of a worry for me as well, because my Grade 11 marks were not really good. Like other students, I didn’t know that the Grade 11 final exams would be this important.”

Another graduating Class XII student, Deepti S. said: “My final results may not be up to my expectations, because at that time I didn’t know that the marks of Grade X and XI would be taken into account for Grade XII results. I feel our Grade X performance should not count, as we had to study all the subjects then. For example, I’m a Science student and now my marks for the subjects which I didn’t pursue in Plus Two, will also be factored in.”

Although, students do concur that the situation in India was quite grim because of the second wave of the contagion, they say overseas students’ future, unfortunately, seem to have suffered collateral damage.

Another student, Hansel Mathew, who awaits his Grade XII results, said: “The board’s final decision about the parameters of our Grade 12 result is a cause for worry. We’ve really had a rough year.”

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