UAE: Final exams of CBSE begin today; students' physical, emotional well-being prioritised

School heads say it is important for pupils to remember that nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep are crucial ingredients for mental alertness

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 7:33 PM

CBSE-affiliated schools in the UAE and around the world began their board examinations on Wednesday (Feb 15) for Grade 10 and 12 students.

This year, schools in the UAE have implemented unique methods to reduce stress among students, such as sensory-based stress relievers, pet therapy, game therapy, art therapy, and confidence-boosting programs. The schools have confirmed that these supportive mechanisms will be in place until the conclusion of the exams.

The Grade 12 students kicked off their exams with the entrepreneurship paper, while the Grade 10 students took the painting exam yesterday (as of print time). As the importance of these exams cannot be overstated, school groups are increasingly prioritising students' physical and emotional well-being during this period.

“This is an earlier-than-usual start to the exams when compared with previous years. The Indian High Group of Schools will present more than 1404 students for the grade 10 and 12 exams this year. With an abundance of practice materials and one-on-one guidance to build key skills and confidence, the school has raised the levels of preparedness of its students,” says Punit MK Vasu, CEO of the Indian High Group of Schools.

“Student success, wellbeing and happiness remain our goal and to that end we commit each of our school to specific targets and plans,” he added.

As the city coordinator for all board examination centres in Dubai, the HIS group has also ensured that all invigilators are specially trained to conduct the exams in a well-structured manner across the emirate.

Ambika Gulati, Principal of The Millennium School, Dubai says, “I would like to wish all students the best of luck for the examinations. You must believe in yourselves and your efforts, and remember that nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep are crucial ingredients for mental alertness. Maintaining a regular routine throughout the examination period will help you stay focused and learn effectively. Additionally, I would like to request that you leave home on time on the morning of the exam to allow for any potential traffic delays.”

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, Principal and Director of DPS Dubai says, “Our school is a centre for almost 1000 students. We constantly coordinate and collaborate with the schools that send students to sit their examinations at our school. We form a symbiotic relationship with the schools and treat their students as our own.

“DPS Dubai places emphasis on mindful exercises, deep breathing and creating an ambient, calm and comfortable environment so that students feel relaxed right before the exam begins. The school doctors and nurses are available to meet all students’ health care needs (first aid/emergency care) and support those students with medical conditions during the examinations.”

Trainers to be mindful of students’ stress levels

School principals underline that thorough training is provided to all invigilators to be mindful of the stress experienced by students and to help them keep their anxiety at bay.

“Our SEND Department caters to the individual requirements of all differently-abled students and those with special needs,” adds Nandkeolyar.

“We encourage our students to adopt a growth mindset, which emphasizes that intelligence and ability can be developed through hard work and perseverance. This helps students approach exams with a positive attitude and the belief that they can improve and succeed. We also teach breathing and relaxation techniques and encourage our students to eat healthily and get a good night’s sleep before their exam,” avers Teresa Varman, Principal/CEO of GEMS Millennium School – Sharjah.

Meanwhile, school heads point out following the preliminary exams, students have been offered support classes and practice tests to strengthen and clarify their understanding of concepts.

School counsellors and members of the leadership team have been available to address students’ wellbeing and have engaged with parents when necessary.

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal, Gulf Indian High School, Dubai, opines, “genuine efforts have been made to groom our students for the boards. We have conducted two rounds of examinations…Preboards 1 and 2. The latter was conducted after analyzing the Preboard 1 scores and remedying the concerns through one-to-one support. Even between the exams, the school has offered full support in coaching the students for the examinations. Teachers have also supported the students with worksheets, question banks on Competency-based questions among other things.”

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