The CBSE answer booklets this year has, for a change, gone thinner.
The board has reduced eight pages from the booklets that will be provided to Class X and XII students during their examinations next month.
However, controller of examination MC Sharma said this decision had nothing to do with cost cutting. It just intended to “curb wastage”.
So while Class XII students attempt questions on a 40-page booklet as compared to the 48-page booklet last year, the number of pages for Class X students has been reduced from 40 to 32.
Over the past couple of years, the board had been continuously increasing the number of sheets so students don’t need to interrupt their writing flow by asking for supplements.
“We called back a few of the answer booklets from regional centres and noticed that the students left anything between eight to 10 sheets blank. So we decided to avoid reduce the number of pages,” Sharma said.
The board incurs an approximate expenditure of Rs 5 crore to provide booklets to 15 lakh candidates across the country. The reduction in pages may help the CBSE save about one-fifth the cost, said an official not willing to be named. The last increase in pages was in 2007 during the tenure of former chairman Ashok Ganguly. Around eight pages had been increased for both the classes then.
Board officials said the change was inevitable, as the pattern of the questions has changed over the years. “A CBSE paper has more objective-type questions and so the students naturally require fewer pages now. Plus, over the years we have increased the number of lines from 18 to 20 on each page,” said an official who was not willing to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Irrespective of the board’s intention and reasons, the decision will help reduce stress among students.
“Students are usually under psychological pressure to write as many pages as possible. So the more pages you leave unused in your booklet, the more let down one feels about his/her performance,” said Suneeta Khanna, a Class XII student.