Going over-Board?

Alisha Shinde & Amrita Prasad
Monday, 2 April 2018

The exam paper leak fiasco and CBSE’s decision to conduct re-examination has left students appearing for 10th and 12th Boards flummoxed and agitated. Alisha Shinde and Amrita Prasad speak to them, teachers and parents to know their take on ‘retest’.

Call it ‘testophobia,’ ‘examinophobia’ or ‘exam fever,’ most students undergo exam stress throughout their school years. The Board exams (10th 0r 12th) take this stress a notch higher. Visit any school or exam centre and you will find students and parents wearing a worried look on their face as if a single exam will decide their future. But you can’t blame them because there’s a huge pressure on students to score high to get admission in colleges. 

The 10th and 12th Board exams  of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are almost on the verge of completion but the anxiety of students are far from over.

With the exam paper leak, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has announced the re-examination of Economics paper for those appearing for 12th Boards and 10th students may have to write the Mathematics paper again. This has caused stir and  agitation in the country.

A petition was also filed on Saturday, a day after the CBSE announced that a re-examination of 12th Boards Economics paper will be held on April 25. For  Mathematics re-test, perhaps students in Delhi-NCR and Haryana will have to write the paper in July, so  the students are still clueless about the final decision as investigations continue.  

Exams are a stressful time and the news of re-examination has caused great anxiety among youngsters. Tanishq Aggarwal, a student of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi, and appearing for his 10th Boards, says, “It has been stressful right from the time the news of the re-test broke and it also affected my performance for the remaining exams.” He says that since there is no clear picture available till now, it is even more difficult to overcome the stress. “I have to appear for an entrance exam and now I am in a soup. I don’t know how I’ll perform. I thought with the Boards over I would be able to focus on the upcoming entrance exam, and now with the fiasco of the re-test, the preparations for my test will definitely be affected,” Aggarwal adds.

It is not just about the stress, the re-examination will further complicate the issue of admission to colleges. Karan Brar, a student of Mata Jai Kaur Public School, Delhi, and appearing for the 12th Boards, says, “I have applied for my higher education to colleges abroad. Having cleared their entrance tests, all that I needed was the mark sheet to submit, which seems difficult now since the Board has opted for a re-test and in all likelihood the results will be delayed. “This is like mental harassment because I know I studied hard for the paper and I was sure to get good marks, so giving a re-test is not fair,” he says adding that he will have to reapply to colleges abroad and pay the fees again. 

Titus Titus P, a student of Saraswati Vidyaniketan, Kochi, and appearing for the 12th Boards, believes that a retest might be a possible solution but only if it was meant for a lesser number of students. He says that on a nationwide scale it is just not right. “Dealing with exam stress all over again is a harrowing experience. Besides, re-examination will involve spending money by the  Board again,” says Titus.   

Tarushi Singh, a student of Air Force School, Pune, and appearing for 10th Boards, believes that even if students from the Pune region may not have to appear for the re-test it is not fair that the students in the North have to suffer like this. “The people involved in the paper leak should be punished and not the hardworking students. This is not fair,” Singh says. She believes that along with the few people who were involved in the leak, the Board too is at fault because of which the students shouldn’t be the ones who have to suffer. “Of course there is no perfect solution to this but the Board took the decision of the re-test in just 90 minutes and that is absolutely not justified,” she adds.

Parents and teachers feel that because of faulty administration, incompetence of the Board, corruption and politics, the students are paying a hefty price. West Bengal-based Madhumita Chatterjee, a former teacher who taught at Green Point Academy School, argues, “Paper leak is a ‘planned accident,’ and the Board must justify how and where it happened. Only those centres should reappear and not all the students. There should be exemplary punishment for those involved.”

Another teacher from Delhi, Sushant Singh, believes that the whole fiasco is going to affect students’ future. “Just imagine what will be the future of students who want to pursue higher education. If they have to reappear for re-examination, this means further delay in results, while students of other Boards will begin new sessions, which is ridiculous. People shouldn’t make mockery of the education system,” adds Singh. 

And the pain is no less for the parents. Gaitree Gaikwad, whose daughter appeared for 10th Boards, says that the mere thought of writing the Mathematics paper once again is petrifying for the 16-year old. “This is not the solution. Why should our kids suffer? My daughter is confused and upset which has affected her performance of other papers. She isn’t too good at Mathematics, and now that she has to appear for it once more is causing her nervous breakdown,” says Gaikwad.

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