New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has initiated reforms in board exams in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP), and will introduce an “improvement exam” from the academic session 2021-22, the education ministry has said.
The improvement exam, which gives students an opportunity to improve their scores, will be a permanent feature from the coming academic session.
The board is also going to introduce two difficulty levels of question papers for English and Sanskrit subjects, similar to the ones that it currently offers for Mathematics, the ministry said.
There will be a tough and an easy version of all these subjects and students will be free to opt for the level they feel comfortable with.
“CBSE will introduce improvement examination from the year 2021 and will introduce English and Sanskrit in 2 levels from the session 2021-22 (already offers Mathematics and Hindi at two levels),” read the NEP action plan shared by the ministry Monday evening.
The action plan also mentioned that the board will ensure 10 per cent of the questions in Class 10 and 12 question papers are competency based. The idea is to decrease the burden on students and break away from rote learning.
‘Improvement exam eases pressure on students’
Professor R. Govinda, former vice-chancellor, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, said the improvement exam is a good idea, but expressed concern over the increasing “pressure to score” that necessitated the move.
“I think an improvement exam is a good idea, but we have to understand why it has been introduced in the first place… it is because of the high stake board exams. Because we link the board exams to admission in colleges, students are naturally under pressure to score more and thus have a psychological pressure,” he explained.
Ashok Pandey, director, Ahlcon Group of Schools, Delhi, also supported the idea of an improvement exam.
“If the child has not been able to perform as per his/her expectations, a chance should be given. That is what a compassionate evaluation system is all about. We are talking about doing away from an examination system that appears to be punitive, so it has to be more with empathy and compassion and people should get chances to improve.”
Sunita Salve, who teaches Class 12 students at a private school in Ahmedabad, also agreed that the exam would ease the pressure on students. “I think if board students get another chance to improve their performance, they will be under less pressure.”
According to the ministry note, bringing reforms in CBSE is one of the many areas in school education where the implementation of NEP has begun. These include the one year of ‘Balvatika’ for children, which is the pre-school stage, being introduced in many states; introduction of the National Mission of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, meant to improve numeral literacy among students; as well as ‘bag-less’ days, and internships for school students.
“To achieve the goals and objectives of NEP 2020, the Department of School Education and Literacy has prepared a draft implementation plan with tasks linking each recommendation with tasks, responsible agencies to carry out the task, timelines and outputs,” the note read.
The task list was shared with states in September last year.
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