As Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal mulls over the idea of doing away with the "traumatic" Class 10 board exams, students, educators and parents gave mixed reactions. They are not sure whether the move would relieve stress or add pressure to Class 12 board exams.
The minister has said that the Class 10 board exam was not necessary as it laid undue pressure and traumatized students and parents.
"The choice of whether Class 10 boards should be scrapped... is something that school teachers and parents have to decide," Sibal told a news channel in New Delhi.
"There should be a method of assessment different from just sitting for a board exam, determining the percentages and then moving forward. There can be an alternative system and there are many such systems in the world. Percentile system is much better than the percentages," Sibal said.
The idea has garnered mixed response - while some fear that scrapping the Class 10 board exam would add pressure to performing well in class 12 exam, others hope that an alternative assessment system could replace the board exams altogether.
Geetali Tyagi, 15, a Class 10 student of Mother's International, told IANS, "I don't find the current board exams taxing, but yes it can get a bit stressful. If the new system doesn't compromise on the academic standards and relieves us of mugging up stuff, it would be helpful."
But Amandeep Mohla, a Class 11 student of the Army Public School, said that exams are important.
"The Class 10 board exams should stay as it helps in selecting the stream of interest for Class 12. They also help in preparing and handling the Class 12 board exams whose results play an important role in career selection," he said.
Amandeep's father Sudeep, however, said the board exams should be abolished overall.
"Scrapping it in only in Class 10 will put extra pressure on the students. The Class 10 board exam acts as a precursor to Class 12 as students get accustomed to the process. Students appearing in Class 12 already have so much pressure as many are taking additional coaching for competitive exams," he said.
Another parent of a Class 10 student endorsed the plan to do away with Class 10 boards exam.
"Even a year before Class 10, students come under stress. Parents start putting too much pressure. Even if the 10th board is done away with, the students will be able to cope with the Class 12 exam, because they are more mature to realise the importance of studying," she said, declining to be named.
Some educators, meanwhile, held that the Class 10 board exams are crucial for students to decide their future subjects.
Dinakal Wilson, principal of Baldwin Boys High School in Bangalore, said, "The 10th board exam is important to assess the performance of students and then help decide the stream they get into in the following years. Even if the board is scrapped, an exam of mathematics and science is a must. That is my personal opinion."
RP Mallick, chairman of Federation of Public Schools, an association of 200 public schools of the capital, said, "I think exam is a must in Class 10 as it prepares student for the Class 12 board exam that plays an important role in career selection. Scrapping the board exams will also affect overall results and pass percentage of schools."
Others suggested an overhaul of the existing system in entirety.
Delhi Public School student counsellor Mamta Sharma told IANS, "I endorse Sibal's views. Education is more than just marks and grades. Exams should not be the sole deciding factor. This is the only country where there are such exams - in other places there is assessment over a period of time. Our students become used to mugging up and rote learning, but when it comes to application they lag behind."