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CBSE practical exams from 1 March, schools want states to allow offline classes before that

Only a handful of states have allowed students, from classes 10 and 12, to attend school. Others including Delhi haven’t given permission to reopen schools yet.

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New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked all affiliated schools to start practical examinations from 1 March. But with schools having been shut across the country for most of the academic session, students have had almost no practical classes this year, so holding exams in March seems like a challenge.

In a notice released on 31 December, the CBSE said exams for both Class 10 and 12 will begin by 4 May, and schools can conduct practical exams starting 1 March.

The board also said schools that are unable to conduct practical exams if the local administration doesn’t allow them to reopen, can go for alternate means of evaluation like internal assessment. But the schools are waiting for states to give a go-ahead for a phased reopening so lab work can be finished.

So far, a handful of states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Assam have allowed students from classes 10 and 12 to attend school, but others including national capital Delhi have not had any decision on school reopening yet. Schools in such states are now hoping the governments will allow them to call students in batches.


Also read: ‘Should I send my kids to school, should I travel?’ Top Covid concerns on NIMHANS helpline


Delhi schools hoping for exemption

In Delhi, Deputy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia said Wednesday schools will reopen only when the vaccine is available for the public. But schools are hoping an exemption is made for students from classes 10 and 12.

B.K. Sharma, principal, Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Lajpat Nagar, said: “We are waiting for a directive from the Delhi government before we go ahead with a plan. If the government allows students to come in a staggered manner for practical classes, we will call students. But in terms of preparedness, my school is fully ready to conduct offline practical exams.”

Alka Kapur, principal of Modern School, Shalimar Bagh, said: “The government should allow students to come in, in a staggered manner, especially the ones in board classes, so that they can have hands-on experience of the lab work.”

She added: “So far we have been teaching them experiments online through graphics and videos. But this is the board class that we are talking about, how will they be able to strengthen their base if they don’t have practical experience at this stage?”

Kapur added that it will be a futile exercise if students are not allowed to take practicals offline.

Hope to make up for lost time

In states like Gujarat, Punjab and Odisha, where the governments allowed them to reopen in January, schools hope they will be able to make up for lost time and give hands-on practical experience to students.

“The government has allowed schools to call in class 10 and 12 students in Gujarat starting 11 January. This should give us enough time to prepare our students before the practical exams begin in March,” Divesh Krishna, a teacher from a private school in Surat, told ThePrint.

Schools in Odisha are expected to reopen this week, and are hoping to be able to call senior students.

“We will have dedicated practical periods every day, and get students familiar with everything. The examination might be external or through internal assessment, but without waiting on a decision, we are planning to familiarise the students,” said Swoyan Satyendu, director of ODM Public School in Bhubaneshwar.

In Maharashtra, the government has allowed schools to reopen but those in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are still shut. Teachers in these schools now hope the government lets them call senior students before the practical exams.

“We are waiting for further instructions from the government to allow students to come in so that they can attend laboratory lessons. If they can come in for practicals, it will be like a preparation for board exams,” said Ganesh Parmeshwaran, principal of Bal Bharti School, Navi Mumbai.

In Karnataka, where schools have already reopened for senior students, teachers and school administrations seem confident about the practical exams.

Mansoor Ali Khan, member of the board of management at Delhi Public Schools in Bengaluru and Mysuru, said: “Our students in both cities have been coming to school; they attend lab sessions as well. We will begin our practical exams by 15 March and will take one month, so that they can be conducted in segregated batches, keeping the Covid protocol in mind.”


Also read: CBSE confirms 2021 board exams will be conducted offline with pen and paper


 

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