New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is discussing advancing the summer break in schools affiliated to it, in view of the ongoing lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, CBSE secretary Anurag Tripathi told ThePrint in an interview.
He, however, clarified that the board is in discussion with the states and can take a call on this only after the lockdown is lifted.
Tripathi said the board is also in talks with teachers, schools and students regarding the idea.
“We are in discussion with teachers and students that we should advance the summer vacation. Usually, summer vacations are from May to June,” he said. “Some schools have also requested that if we advance the vacations, the academic session won’t get hampered,” Tripathi added.
“We can only decide something once the lockdown is lifted and we assess the situation,” he said. “It is up to the individual states to take the final call. We will try to take a call in the best interest of students.”
The academic sessions begin in April and schools break for summer vacation in May and reopen in June. This year, due to the lockdown, schools have been suggesting that the summer vacation be advanced.
Apart from a disrupted academic session, schools have faced many other challenges like the postponement of some board exams. In order to address this, the board issued a circular last week saying that remaining exams for Classes 10 and 12 will only be held in 29 subjects. These include only important subjects such as Business Administration, Home Science, Geography and others for Class 12. There will be no more exams for Class 10, except in the riot-hit Northeast Delhi region.
Exams only in important subjects
The secretary said that CBSE decided to conduct exams only in selected subjects keeping in mind their importance for higher education.
“We have been taking calls keeping in mind the best interest of students. We decided to conduct board exams only in those subjects that are important and have a large number of students appearing for them,” Tripathi said.
“We wanted to keep in mind the academic future of children, hence we chose the subjects that will impact their future in terms of admission to colleges, nationally and internationally.”
The new dates for exams have not been decided so far, Tripathi said, clarifying that the dates will be announced at least 10 days in advance.
For students who study in CBSE-affiliated schools outside India, the board has decided to forego the board exams that are remaining.
“We do not know when the lockdown will be lifted in other countries, hence we have communicated to our foreign schools to assess students on the basis of the exams that they have written and not conduct anymore exams,” he said.
On the results for the board exams, Tripathi said the board will try to get the results out by June, if the lockdown is lifted on time and evaluation is possible.
“Because of the lockdown, not only did we have to postpone the exams but also delay the evaluation process,” Tripathi said. “If the lockdown is lifted, we will be able to start the process and hopefully try to deliver the results by the month of June.”
Board asks schools to promote students in Classes 9 & 11
The board has also recently asked all the schools affiliated to it to promote students from classes 1 to 8, without an exam and on the basis of internal assessment. It has now issued the same advisory for classes 9 and 11, Tripathi said.
“A lot of schools have already done their internal assessment and the ones that have not, we have asked them to promote students from classes 1 to 8,” he added.
“Recently, we also asked schools to promote students in classes 9 and 11. Both these classes have unit tests and a lot of other ways of internal assessment. It won’t be unfair to students, if they are judged on the basis of their performance throughout the year.”
While the board is still in discussion with schools on changing the academic calendar, many schools have already started the session through the online mode. Speaking about the challenges of teaching online, Tripathi said, “A lot of schools have started teaching online, the ones that do not have the facility, they are trying to connect through mail, WhatsApp and planned calendars.
“It is not a substitute for teachers and we are aware of that, but students and teachers are trying to do the best they can. Lockdown has given us a chance to get introduced to online content and I think we should make use of it.”