Concerns raised over ‘unfair’ guidelines for CBSE Math Olympiad

  • Aneesha Bedi, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 28, 2015 00:04 IST
Arvind Goyal, a local academician, said the common paper might discourage and disappoint students of Class 9 and 10. (HT Photo)

Candidates aspiring for the annual Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), group mathematical olympiad are concerned about the ‘common’ question paper applicable for students from Class 9 to 11.

They believe that CBSE is not being just by keeping a common test for all the three classes, as students of the senior class or Class 11 in this case, would have an edge over the others. The board will conduct the olympiad at various centres across the country in December.

Students studying in classes 9 to 11 can take part in the three-hour competition. Each school has to select and send only five students who stand the best chance of competing against their peers across the country. A qualifying exam has to be conducted in the school as a screening test to select the candidates.

Arvind Goyal, a local academician, said the common paper might discourage and disappoint students of Class 9 and 10, “It’s a good initiative by the CBSE and will encourage the students to go beyond their books, expand academic horizons and inculcate a spirit of healthy competition. However, the CBSE should not have a single paper for Class 9, 10 and 11 class students as the academic level of students of Class 9, 10 is very different from that of Class 11. This might cause undue stress on the students of class 9th and 10th and will not give them a level playing field in the exam.”

Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Anujit Kaur also feels the IQ of a Class 9 child varies to that of a Class 11 child. “What is the point of stressing children? It makes it difficult for us in the selection procedure as we have to be fair to all.”

Ambiguous guidelines stress children

More importantly, the circular this year also mentions in bold, that ‘bright students of Class 8 may appear’ which has created more ambiguity among students who wish to take part in the exam. Sidharth, a student of Class 8 of St John’s High School, said, “Even if I am the brightest student of Class 8 I will not be able to solve the questions of class 10 and 11 level mathematics , how am I supposed to cope up with the kind of math which is three levels higher?.”

Another student, Radhika Bhatia studying in a government school in Sector 35 feels CBSE is discouraging students at large. “What does bright imply. Are only those who do well in maths bright?,” she said.

However, Shamsher, a mathematics teacher at a local government school, said, “The merit list is usually different for each class so I don’t think this would interfere with the students’ performance as much”. When HT contacted Subash Chand, deputy director, CBSE, to clarify the same, he said, “It will be a common merit list for all classes. The Olympiad is meant for people who have a keen interest in pursuing a career in Mathematics. It was always meant to shortlist children who are very sharp at this subject from a young age.”

Extra 5% quote for girls

From this year there will be an additional quota for five girl candidates as per information available on the CBSE website. Five girls are added apart from the existing merit list of 30 students.

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