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Delhi govt wants compulsory Class 10 board exam put off for two years

The Delhi education department said the students were used to the semester system and so, they should be assessed only for one semester in their Class 10 exams for two years.

delhi Updated: Feb 21, 2017 11:13 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CBSE,Compulsory Class 10 exam,Semester
In 2015, education minister Manish Sisodia had said the government would work on creating a board of its own on the lines of the CBSE with its own syllabus.(Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

The Delhi government wants students writing the compulsory Class 10 board examinations evaluated on only half the syllabus for two years, arguing city pupils aren’t ready to face the tough test.

The demand comes after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) — the country’s largest education board — made Class 10 examinations compulsory from the next academic session (2017-18) after widespread criticism of the earlier system of optional tests and automatic promotion.

In a letter to the CBSE in January, the Delhi education department said students of Class 9 and 8 — who will face the first and second editions of the compulsory examination in 2018 and 2019, respectively — should be given a “breather” for two years.

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The letter said these students were used to the semester system — under which pupils are examined every six months — and so, they should be assessed only for one semester in their Class 10 exams for two years.

This effectively meant a halving of the syllabus as the board examinations assess a candidate on the entire year’s learning.

The CBSE hasn’t taken a call on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s request but sources told HT it might be difficult for the board to change the rule for a union territory or a state because the decision was applicable to affiliated schools.

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Board officials also said a semester-based assessment couldn’t be called a board examination, which had to be based on an annual syllabus.

Officials in the city department of education said they didn’t ask for an exemption.

“We want the semester system to continue for Class 9 and 10 students for an interim of two years… as they had to go through various experiments of no-detention policy, CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) among others, and will find it (board exams) difficult to adjust,” said a senior DoE official.

“We fully support board exams but currently the students are used to the semester system so they should be assessed using that. The board exam for these students can be based on a semester rather than judging them on the full syllabus, that too for a period of two years,” added the official. The government also said this could be replicated throughout the country so that sudden decisions don’t adversely affect the children.

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Last December, CBSE made Class 10 exam compulsory in its schools, doing away with a policy formed five years ago that offered a choice to students to opt for the board-conducted finals or let the institution assess their performance. The previous policy was roundly criticised for lower performance levels among children and blamed for falling test scores.

The decision was taken by the governing body of the CBSE, which runs more than 18,000 schools in the country including government schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas and private ones.

A CBSE notification earlier this month said students appearing for the Class 10 exam will have to study the complete year’s syllabus and score 33% in both theory and internal assessment to pass.

To roll out compulsory Class 10 board examination in 2018, schools will have to start internal assessment from this year itself. “Delhi government wrote to us recently pointing out that the graded system which was in practice so far should continue for Delhi government schools. However, at this juncture, we can’t give them exemption as this is the decision of the governing body,” said a CBSE official.

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Unlike other states, Delhi does not have its own education board and is affiliated to the CBSE. In 2015, education minister Manish Sisodia had said the government would work on creating a board of its own on the lines of the CBSE with its own syllabus, keeping the demand of Delhi in mind. However, no timeline was given for the rollout of the proposal.

Private schools in the capital had performed better than government-run and aided schools in the CBSE Class 10 exam last year. According to CBSE officials, the pass percentage of private schools was 11% higher than that of government schools. Government schools in Delhi had a pass percentage of 89.13%, which is more than the national average of 86.61%.

First Published: Feb 21, 2017 07:12 IST