CBSE Board Exam 2020: Students cheer cancellation of remaining exams, await clarity on NEET/JEE

Supreme Court today accepted the new assessment scheme of CBSE for declaring results of Class X and Class XII board exams. Tests for all remaining CBSE board examinations have been cancelled.

Published: Jun 26, 2020
CBSE Exams_SM Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Ever since there was news about his March 2020 exams being postponed, Delhi-based CBSE Class XII student Abhishek Rathi was doubtful about his plan to take up an arts course abroad. After three months, Rathi is relieved by the Supreme Court (SC) approval of the CBSE assessment scheme on Friday.

For Rathi, examinations were pending for subjects like Hindi, Geography and Sociology. He would have missed the application deadline for a design programme in Italy, had there been a further extension.

“I am not opting for appearing the examinations at a later date. There has already been a delay. I am happy that the impasse has finally been resolved,” he said.

Also Read: CBSE presents new assessment scheme for board exams

On Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBSE, presented the new assessment scheme in the SC. Now, the average marks of the best two (or three) subjects, for which a student has already appeared, will be the reference for assessing the remaining papers. However, there was no clarity in the case of candidates who have taken only one or two papers.

The SC accepted the CBSE assessment scheme and disposed off all court cases related to CBSE/ICSE examinations.

However, the central government now has to announce fresh dates for the undergraduate medical admission test, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and engineering entrance test, Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). These examinations were rescheduled to be held in July 2020.

“There is no question of holding NEET and JEE in July, considering the pandemic situation. But cancelling examinations is not an option. So my guess is that probably some online format could be followed. The government has to ensure that students in the remote corners also get access,” said Manipur-based Blossom Vashum, who offers an engineering entrance coaching and is also a mother of a Class XII student.

Vashum added that the CBSE board should now release the results quickly so that students can apply for admissions abroad.

Her daughter is planning to pursue a public policy degree from the United States, and, hence, Vashum explained that timely declaration of results is crucial.

Since NEET and JEE are the sole entry criteria into medical and engineering institutes, cancellation is not an option. Online examinations would mean students should have access to proper internet connection and have a laptop or computer.

A further rescheduling would affect the academic calendar. Cancellation of these tests in 2020 would mean one year of prospective candidates going waste.

This is especially true of North-East Delhi students who could not appear for examinations in February 2020 due to an outbreak of violence in that region.

Seventeen-year-old Taufiq Saifi said that his school has not yet computerised the internal assessment systems.

“We have had cases where candidate assessment sheets were missing after the violence. One of our teachers handling the papers also had to move out of his home temporarily and has gone back to Lucknow. How will we be marked then?” wonders Saifi.

He was only able to appear only for one examination and the rest had to be rescheduled. But Saifi is at least happy that students wouldn't have to go to examination centres again, which pose a high risk of infection.

Tauiq's father Afroz Saifi agrees. Afroz added that if the examinations would have been postponed again, his son's future would have been uncertain.

For students living in areas with poor or no internet connection, the SC decision on Friday turned out to be in their best interest. Sushant Gurung, a Class XII student in Harsil in Uttarkashi area of Uttarakhand, said that there was a fear of the examination moving online.

“We barely get internet connection here. It could have been a disaster if online examinations were conducted. This averaging formula seems to be the perfect option,” he said.

Relief for teachers, too

The SC order has brought a sense of relief to the teachers as well.

Kolkata-based high-school teacher Nandita Sarkar told Moneycontrol said that she was to be on invigilation duty during the CBSE board examinations. “Teachers like us wouldn't have the liberty to cite COVID-19. But now that examinations have been cancelled, my family is happy,” she said.

It is to be noted that for CBSE Class XII Board Exam 2020, students have an option to appear for the remaining subjects whenever the ‘situation is conducive'. Teachers hope that not many students opt for this scheme.

Hindi teacher Neeti Srivastava told Moneycontrol that if many students opt for examinations at a later date, it will disrupt the academic schedule.

“We will have to set up exam centres, and there could be a situation where we teachers are taken out of the regular school schedule and sent for exam paper correction duty, which is not something we want,” she added.

Three million students appeared for the CBSE Class X and Class XII examinations in 2020. The final results based on the new assessment scheme would be declared by July 15.

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