Schools, parents split over in-person exams
How best to conduct exams this year, is the question that is vexing both private schools and parents in the national capital with neither party agreeing with the other.
While parents students of classes 9 and 11 are reluctant to send their children to school for their annual examination and want exams to be held remotely, schools are advocating in-person examinations, terming them more “reliable” and in accordance with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) directions.
The CBSE, on February 11, directed all its affiliated schools to conduct annual examinations of classes 9 and 11 in the offline mode, after taking all Covid-19 related precautions. But parents are not for it. They would rather that the exams be held online, so that children can take them remotely, without fear of infection
On Tuesday, a group of 30 to 40 parents and students gathered outside KR Mangalam World School in Greater Kailash-2, protesting against the school’s decision to conduct in-person examinations for these classes, even though it had already conducted the exams online. “The school has conducted exams online before the CBSE directions came. Now, the school is asking us to send our children for in-person exams. Why should our children appear in exams again risking their safety? said a parent of a class 11 student.
When contacted, school director Jyoti Gupta said, “The school is following the CBSE directions and not taking any decision on its own. The major issue right now is that students are out of practice when it comes to writing for three hours. They have been attending online classes and appearing in exams in the online mode throughout the year. Taking all this into consideration, the school has also decided to give 50-50 weightage to both offline and online exams. If parents still have objections, then we can’t help it. We have no means to proctor the online exams.”
Some schools have decided to give an option of online exams after receiving requests from parents but, simultaneously announced incentives to those who will choose the in-person mode. For instance, Bal Bharti Public School in Pitampura has decided to give additional 10% marks per subject to such students. “We released a Google form to ask the preference of students and their parents and 70% of them have opted for the online mode. But the school has given an open offer since in-person exams are more challenging this year -- students have not taken any such exam throughout the year,” school principal Meenu Goswami said.
The Indian School in Sadiq Nagar has given parents a choice between date lines for offline exams. School principal Tania Joshi said, “Many of the parents are still not in favour of offline exams, but they simply cannot rely on online exams either. We have given them two date options -- children can appear in offline exams either in March or in April.”
Delhi parents’ association, on Monday, wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal requesting the government to intervene. “At a time when coronavirus cases are rising in several states and there is a fear of a second wave across the country, what is the point of offline exams? In some cities, the administration has ordered schools shut again in view of rising Covid-19 cases,” said Aprajita Gautam, president of the association.
Recently, Pune administration ordered all schools shut till February 28 after Covid-19 cases increased again in the city. In Mumbai, where schools have been physically closed since March last year, the state board is yet to take a decision on the mode of conducting exams.
A senior Delhi government official, who wished not to be named, said, “The Delhi government has already instructed all its schools to conduct exams in the offline mode, in pursuance to CBSE directions. The mid-term exams for classes 9 and 11 will start from March 20 in government schools. The government doesn’t come into the picture when the CBSE issues directions to its affiliated schools. Schools are bound to follow the CBSE directions.”