New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday approved the proposal of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to cancel the remaining papers of Class 10 and 12 examinations, and also gave its nod to the board’s evaluation formula to assess the students and promote them.
A special bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar also allowed to make the Class 12 exams optional for students if they are held when the situation is conducive.
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), which had proposed to go with what the CBSE decides on conducting exams, was allowed to do so. However, the autonomous examination board said it would like to make papers optional for even Class 10 students.
The court gave a go-ahead to the ICSE to work out a different evaluation scheme.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, the ICSE counsel, got one week from the court to finalise the assessment formula and upload it on its website.
Appearing for the Centre and the CBSE, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the board will declare the result by 15 July and no child would be forced to take the optional scheme.
“They would be allowed to take a class when the Board decides to conduct exam,” he told the bench.
This submission was made when advocate Rishi Malhotra, lawyer for the parents, insisted the students be allowed to take exams within two weeks of declaring the results.
“An option can be given to the students when the situation is conducive,” Mehta said, in response to Malhotra’s claim that children would be in a state of confusion if a timeline is not stipulated now.
The court said Mehta’s submission was reasonable, and the CBSE can first notify the date before giving an opportunity to students to opt for the exams.
“It is also possible that CBSE may decide situation is not conducive to hold exam at all,” said the bench.
During the hearing Thursday, CBSE had told the court that students of Classes 10 and 12 will be evaluated based on the examinations they have appeared in before the lockdown began.
In its affidavit to the court, the CBSE said it will calculate average marks of students’ best performing subjects, which will then be used to allot marks for subjects they couldn’t write exams in.
The board cancelled the exams slated for July in view of the rising coronavirus cases.
In its affidavit, the CBSE elaborated its evaluation scheme, in which it has divided students into four categories. A final decision on the scheme will, however, be taken after the court hearing Friday.
Exams for both Class 10 and 12 had begun on 15 February but had to be postponed on 18 March, owing to the lockdown.
The evaluation scheme
According to the evaluation formula, the four categories of students, which the board has identified for both Class 10 and 12, include those who have completed all their exams, whose results will be declared based on their performance in the exams.
For students who have appeared in exams in more than three subjects, average of the marks obtained in the best three performing subjects will be awarded in the subjects whose examinations have not been conducted.
The other category of students that the board has identified is those who have appeared in only three subjects. For such students, the average of marks obtained in the best two performing subjects will be awarded in the subjects whose examinations have not been conducted.
Finally, there is a category of Class 12 students, mainly from the riot-affected Northeast Delhi region where exams had to be postponed. These students appeared in only one or two exams — their results will be declared based on performance in the appeared subjects and performance in internal/practicals project assessment.
Chance to improve performance
The board said it will offer a chance to students to improve their performance if they wish to. This option, however, is available only to Class 12 students owing to the significance of their marks in various competitive exams.
“For Class 12, CBSE will conduct an examination in the subjects whose examinations were scheduled to be conducted from 1st July to 15h July, 2020 as soon as conditions are conducive, as assessed and decided by the Central Government,” the board said in its affidavit.
“Candidates whose results will be declared based on the assessment scheme will be allowed to appear in these optional examinations to improve their performance, if they wish so. However, the marks obtained by a candidate in these optional examinations will be treated as final for those who have opted to take these examinations,” it added.