The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been facing a lot of criticism over the past couple of days regarding its credibility and the decision to hold re-examination for one paper each for Class X and XII students.
While the government has taken the decision following reported cases of paper leaks that took place before the Class X Mathematics paper and Class XII Economics paper, the blunders by what is known to be one of the most secure educational boards in the country, to which lakhs of students are affiliated, is very unfortunate for students. If the re-examination is held, over 28 lakh students will be affected.
Anil Swarup, Secretary, School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, said that while the Class XII Economics paper will be held across the country on April 25, the Class X Mathematics re-exam may or may not be held, and if at all, it will be held only in Delhi and Haryana, in July. However, due to lack of confirmation regarding the same, which may come only after 15 days, even Class X students remain tensed.
CBSE re-exam blunder
March 28 is termed a ‘Black Day’ in the history of education by many parents’ associations. While the CBSE denied all earlier rumours of paper leaks, all of a sudden, the board acknowledged the leaks in Mathematics (Class X) and Economics (Class XII) papers and announced re-examinations in these subjects. While Class X CBSE students were rejoicing that all major exams are over, with Maths paper being held on March 28, it was also a major shock to Class XII students whose exams are still going on.
“Stern action needs to be taken against the CBSE officials in this case, as without involvement from CBSE sources paper leaks to such a large extent are not possible. However, we don’t see the Ministry of Human Resource Development taking any action against them, while the students are given the punishment of re-examination. It’s so unfair that just because the question paper reached around 100 students, lakhs of students have to appear for re-exam,” Advocate Anubha Sahai of Parents of Private Schools of Maharashtra (POPSOM) said.
While there were also reports of papers of Accountancy and Chemistry being leaked, these rumours were blatantly denied by the CBSE. The board was informed of the paper leak on the night prior to the exam, but the CBSE decided to keep mum about it then and took late action. Parents associations have been demanding that instead of conducting re-examination, an assessment pattern that would do justice to all students needs to be worked out.
Stress on students
While students in Delhi have led protests against the re-examination, students across the country have been registering their displeasure through social media and online petitions. For Class X students, answering an exam like Mathematics is a huge stress.
In an online petition addressed to the CBSE, a student, Sai Ganesh, wrote, “We think that everyone should not be penalised for a handful of students atrocities. Many students have other plans for other events and some students’ families are looking to migrate from one place to another and have already begun their packing. Hence, it makes it impossible for them to write their exam. It overall wastes a student’s time and energy as maths is a subject requiring regular practice and a retest for it is tough to prepare for.”
While HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has stated not to pressurise students over re-exams, the pressure is bound to come. The students said that the Maths paper was relatively easy this time, and even those who aren’t good at the subject were looking forward to scoring well. Now, that the paper has to be answered again, their fate is again uncertain.
“It’s clearly the CBSE’s mistake, for which the children are made to suffer. Think about the disabled students, writing examination once is such an ordeal for them, what would they do now?” Sahai questioned.
It was also pointed out that late examination could lead to late results, which will delay the admission processes for CBSE students. Also, many Class XII students, belonging to any stream, need to research for good colleges and appear for entrance exams after board exams. All this schedule will now be disturbed.
Surekha Nande, a counsellor who works closely with students, said that this has certainly created huge pressure on the students. “Most students fear exams. During the examination, the mindset of students is such that it’s easier for them to study and revise. However, once the paper is over, the students are relieved, thus making it very difficult for them to go back to studying for that exam.”
It has also been observed that various political parties and their student wings have taken up this issue and are using it to criticise the government. However, parents’ associations fear that as these political parties may not really be concerned about the students, they may end up hurting the cause of the agitation.
“We have been requesting parents across the country not to come under their influence and instead focus on having interaction with authorities to bring about a change. Our major objective right now is finding a solution to the re-exam and bringing CBSE officials to justice,” Sahai said.
While a probe has been called in the matter and CBSE and MHRD are trying to identify how and by whom the paper was leaked, the fate of students remains to be decided.