The students are divided into two groups, placed on either side of the #cancelboardexams2021 hashtag. But what’s common is the anxiety with which every board exam faring student is waiting for clarity, as their future hangs in the balance.
- The postponement of class 12th board exams has put on hold the future of more than 14 lakh students.
- Having prepared for months for the May 4 to June 14 original timelines, student will now have a notice of mere 15 days before the exams begin.
- Education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal has suggested that the delay will benefit all the stakeholders.
- Officials from the Education ministry feel that Class 12th exams will have a direct impact on the decision and choices of higher studies.
- With India’s second Covid-19 wave running rampant, student health is paramount in all decision making, but that’s where the dilemma arises.
Students across India were all set for board exams 2021 to be conducted in less than a month from now. However, with the rising number of Covid-19 cases and the country’s response to the second wave in shambles, the government has decided to postpone them until the situation becomes better. On the decision to postpone indefinitely, the students stand divided into two groups, one supporting and trending the #cancelboardexams2021 while the other group speaking against it. The commonality though, each one of them across both groups is struggling with anxiety and emotionally strain, burden their minds with excess and drowning in a pile of books on an unending preparatory leave.
Watch: CBSE Class 10th Exams Cancelled, Class 12th Exams Postponed
The timing of the pandemic’s second strike, unprecedented in viciousness, means that education sector is among the worst hit. Sitting at home with their careers and ambitions taking a backseat, young students, soon to be adults, are feeling mental stress undocumented at that age in any generation before. And its not the CBSE students along in this. The CISCE (The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations) followed suit. As did several state boards have also postponed or cancel their class 10th and 12th board exams indefinitely.
What the board and school administrators are saying?
More than an year has gone by since the pandemic first spread to India. While there has been no significant change in the situation of the India’s infrastructure and resources to fight the pandemic, the situation has now reached an unimaginable level of devastation. A review meeting led by PM Modi resulted in the decision to scrap off 10th boards and postpone class 12th exams. Since then, it has spurred a lot of debates. Exams for class 10th have already been conducted for a few districts. Now, many of those students are appealing to re-sit, fearing a probable disparity in results.
For class 12 exams, a postponement is more likely the right way out to stay healthy and safe at home.
It is because class 12th marks are critical for admission to higher education colleges. Students are inevitably in harm’s way amid the current severity of the pandemic. It is not just about board examinations but another process altogether to pursue bachelors and further professional courses. The education department consulted with players involved in this matter. It concluded that online board exams will not be a viable option this year due to lack of infrastructure.
Voices of Suffering Students
Directly affected, students are struggling to come to terms with the situation of their careers. Shashank Shrivastava from Ahlcon School, Noida, a class 12th student mentions, “I have completed my syllabus and now I am just revising but staying at home I am just spiraling with the thought that when will this situation get over and we all can join colleges.” Seconding the thought, Ujitha Goel from Vivekanand School, Delhi, says, “Each day I am getting closer to a nervous breakdown. My parents have this expectation that since exams are postponed now, I should achieve better marks and top. But honestly, I am feeling so pressurized and I cannot focus on studying anymore.”
Some students are also of the view that online examinations will allow circumvention of the anti-cheating mechanism. Online exams will end up amplifying the usage of unfair means and thus, will lead to inconsistency. Moreover, school administrations believe that conducting online board exams in not possible with the current infrastructure.
Watch: Students react on CBSE Exam cancellation news
Rehman Kusreja, a class 12th student from Summerville School, Greater Noida, says, ‘I am afraid that the exams are not cancelled altogether. There have been rumors that students will be marked on an average basis as per their performance throughout the year,’ He continues to say, ‘I am willing to pursue B.Tech in Mechanics and studying simultaneously for the competitive exams along with boards is very intense.” However, the mother of Prakhar Sinha from the same school, confronts that, “cancelling the exams altogether will be unfair to the majority of students who have put in so much of their time and energy in studying.”
In the absence of tuitions and career counselling, parents are finding it a tough to mentor kids at home.
The Indecisive State
The second wave led to an momentous proportions of transmission. The newer strains of the novel coronavirus has mutations targeting younger people. People less than 20 years of age are getting infected much more than last year, as per the WHO.
In this ongoing battle, the CBSE has put forward a piece of advice to the ministry. It has proposed that students appear for board examinations in only three subjects. This means one compulsory language exam and two from the four subjects in the students’ particular stream. These would be the subjects that students want to major in when they pursue college. For instance, students who want to study commerce, can appear for examinations in Business studies and Economics or Math.
In this entire myriad, CBSE has reduced the syllabus for class 12th to ease the burden from students. It plans to introduce more questions in the MCQ format so that students can score better. Stakeholders are making efforts, but most of them are reactions to every new step from the virus. With no clarity on the horizon, only time will live to tell the tale of this future generation.