CBSE school heads in UAE urge for clarity for overseas schools

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Dubai - During Sunday’s meeting with Indian minister two options were proposed.

Published: Sun 23 May 2021, 7:46 PM

While CBSE-affiliated school heads in the UAE have welcomed the decision of the board to hold Class 12 board exams, they have also called for greater clarity on rules for overseas schools.

During a high-level meeting chaired on Sunday by India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, two options were proposed.

One to hold exams for only limited subjects, and second, to hold exams for all subjects but reduce the time for each exam from 3 hours to 1.5 hours and change questions to MCQ and short questions type only.

However, many Indian states have demanded a third option with opinions being fractured. Some state they will hold a written exam as per either of the two options as and when the situation is conducive to hold exams.

Some Indian states like Maharashtra and Delhi are against holding exams and want students to be assessed based on internal assessment.

When Khaleej Times reached out to school principals in the UAE, many said the lack of clarity has left students, schools and parents in a lurch.

Annie Mathew, principal of Gulf Model School, said, “When we look at all the implications that Grade 12 exam results have vis-a-vis the higher education and career choices, it’s a good decision to assess the students uniformly in some form or the other to ensure an amount of fairness. Most of the school communities, I believe, want the exams to be conducted so that there’s a continuation of set and accepted practices, leaving no chance for ambiguity. The time is too short to come up with a viable alternative, acceptable to all.”

She adds, “Now that there’s an amount of certainty about the exams - though more clarity is needed about the actual mode - it gives students the reason and motivation to return to their preparation with added vigor and interest.”

The dates for the board exams will be announced on June 1 as declared earlier. The revised exam schedule would be released at least 15 days prior to the examinations.

Mala Mehra, Principal, Central School, said: “From the UAE perspective, I would say that all schools are comfortable and positive about this decision as safety protocols have been strictly adhered to. But looking at the scenario in India, it would probably get varied responses. I am confident that today’s meeting of CBSE with important heads from the education sector have taken this decision after scrutinising all factors .This decision will surely be welcomed by UAE students and parents who have been enquiring about an update from CBSE regularly. This decision about Grade12 exams suggests that CBSE is anticipating conditions to improve post-lockdowns and bring down the surge in Covid-19 cases across India within the next one month. There has been no formal release on the same from CBSE so far, so once that’s received, things would be much clearer.”

Certain CBSE-affiliated school principals in the UAE expressed disappointment at Sunday’s meeting outcome, saying a lack of a clear consensus on the matter is bad for students.

Zubair Ahmad, Head of Operations, Springdales School Dubai, says, “this adds to the mental stress of students and parents. All stakeholders had been waiting eagerly to hear from the Indian government. Holding a meeting on a Sunday in India deemed it to be of ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’. But unfortunately, nothing has come out of it. Worldwide so much importance is given to students’ wellbeing.”

“This meeting has no conclusion or rationale. Overseas schools are a collateral damage. Why can’t they have an unprecedented circular for CBSE-affiliated schools abroad where the situation is much better here?,” added Ahmad.

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