The Delhi Public School in Nerul abruptly announced last week that it would hold a second round of exams for recently graduated Class 9 students.
These students finished their Class 9 exams more than a month ago. Barely a few days into their new academic year in Class 10, the school informed them that they would have to take another set of exams based on the previous year’s syllabus.
The school declined to tell Hindustan Times why it had taken the abrupt and unprecedented step of holding a second set of class 9 final exams.
Sravani Rao, the vice principal, did not return several calls that HT made to her mobile number and declined to meet us when we visited the school on Saturday morning, when students sat for the first paper of the second round of exams.
Students and parents were also speculating, suggesting that the school has not clearly communicated the reason to them either.
“The previous exams weren’t according to the CBSE pattern,” one student, who did not wish to be named, told HT as he came out of the school gate. “That is why we were told we will have to do the exams again.”
Another student had a different explanation. “We were told this is an aptitude test, and that the previous exams are the ones that will count,” said this student, who also did not want to be named.
Yet another group of students said the school would take the better of the two results.
The most likely explanation, however, is the first student’s, because the CBSE board had issued a circular dated February 3, stating that all affiliated schools would have to conduct their class nine final exams according to the board’s question banks and answer paper marking scheme.
Unfortunately, the Nerul school’s class nine exams were already under way by then, having begun on February 1. (They ended on February 11).
On March 17, the school told students they would have to appear again for another set of class nine exams, starting from Saturday. It is not clear why it waited for so long after the CBSE had sent its circular to do this.
Some parents, who felt their children would be at a disadvantage compared with other CBSE students, said they had written to the board about this.
The board, however, said it was yet to receive an official complaint and would look into the matter if they did.
This is the first year that CBSE schools have had to follow the board’s instructions for the class nine exams as part of its move to ensure a common standard while moving to the internal grading system.
The haste with which the CBSE has had to implement the new system, announced by the HRD ministry in September last year, is possibly why there have been such teething problems.
The board had earlier sent schools in Mumbai and Delhi the same class nine question papers for exams held on different days. In both cities, these schools were adjacent to one another, which meant students discussed their exam papers with one another, which gave students of schools that held the exam later an unfair advantage.