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Want to write the Class X Board exams?

An HT Horizons-AbsolutData survey finds that students (and parents) are willing to write the optional Board exams

education Updated: May 26, 2010 09:28 IST

What a crucial year this is for students who have just moved to Class X following the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)’s announcement that they will not be required to write the Board exams, which have for years defined the academic and career paths of Indian students.

CBSE has made the Board exams optional. A student has the choice of deciding if or not s/he will write the exam. He or she will otherwise be graded. They will be assessed on all-round performance through the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation, or CCE, which focuses on creative and soft skills — apart from pure academics.

What is the students’ — or for that matter their parents’ mindset — when it comes to taking the Board exams? HT Horizons commissioned AbsolutData Research and Analytics to talk to parents and students in select cities to know their views on the Class X Board exams. Were they in favour of the optional Board exams? Would the students want to write the exams? Would their parents want them to write it?

AbsolutData did an online survey across the country. There were 174 respondents, out of which 40 were children from various schools and 134 were parents of children studying in schools in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Cochin, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune, etc. The survey was targeted at existing Class X students and their parents.

The responses were interesting. About 10 per cent of the parents polled were not in favour of the optional exams, but the rest of the 90 per cent wanted their children to choose the option of writing the papers. “Yes, I would like to know his grades after exams,” a parent wrote from Hyderabad. Another parent from Delhi said yes, “to be on the safer side”. For a parent from Chennai it meant “less stress for the child at a later stage”. A father from Bangalore wrote in to say, “Yes, I want my child to clear the CBSE exam, which in itself is a milestone with full confidence to measure his own capabilities to decide his future with no external pressure.” A parent from Balangir said exams would make his son “accountable towards his studies, and will help him judge for himself his weaknesses”. One of the parents was also sure that success in the X Boards would mean a child would face the XII Boards “more confidently”.

Naysayers to the Board exams included parents who were happy that there would be “less tension for children”. It was imperative to gain knowledge in one’s student years and that could be done without undue pressure, a parent from Surat said. “Preparations for exam take up a lot of time and hamper a student’s self-development,” a parent said.

The students’ responses too were in favour of the exams. A student from Chandigarh said an examination would let him know where he stood as the results “marks the start of one’s academic career”. A Kanpur students wanted to “judge himself” and find out how he fared when compared to his classmates. A student from Kanpur mourned that life would not be the same without exams.