CBSE cancels 10th, 12th board exams, releases notification for internal assessment scheme
New Delhi: The pending examinations for Classes 10 and 12 have been scrapped, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said on Thursday, announcing an alternative assessment formula that will grade students based on their performance in subjects for which tests were held before the lockdown came into effect in late March.
The decision was first disclosed at a hearing in Supreme Court, where a petition against the July 1-15 examination schedule was filed by a group of parents who said that going ahead with the tests would expose their children to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Later in the evening, the board – the country’s largest by number of students – announced the decision to cancel the exams, citing “requests received from various state governments and the changed circumstances as on date”.
Appearing for the Centre and CBSE, solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had expressed their inability to conduct the examinations.
At least 23 subjects were pending for Class 12 students. The seven pending papers for Class 10 students were only for students in north-east Delhi schools, where communal riots earlier in the year forced the process to be pushed back.
The fate of the school-graduating examinations is tied to the college admissions process across the country, which students and experts expect to be delayed this year due to the pandemic.
Internal Assessment Scheme
According to the CBSE notification, results will be announced by July 15 with scores based on the new assessment formula. While Class 10 students will not have any option to take a retest, students in the school-graduating twelfth grade can opt for an examination at a later date if “conditions become conducive”.
According to the notification, the automatic assessments will work in the following way: If a student appeared for more than three subjects before the examinations were suspended, an average score will be calculated taking into account the three subjects in which the student scored highest. This will be allotted to the remaining subject.
For those who appeared in fewer examinations, the average will be based on the two highest scoring subjects and allotted to the remaining papers.
“Candidates whose results will be declared based on the assessment scheme will be allowed to appear in the optional examinations to improve their performance, if they wish so. However, the marks obtained by a candidate in these optional examinations will be treated as final,” the notification added.
The Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE), appearing in a related PIL in the apex court, agreed to adopt the decision of CBSE to cancel its Class 10 and 12 examinations scheduled for July 2-11. However, it is yet to decide on giving an option for Class 12 students to take the remaining exam on a future date.
The bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna remarked that the plan for an examination in the future includes many uncertainties. “Conditions may vary from state to state. How will you decide when the time is conducive to conduct the test across the country? Will the Centre take this decision or will you leave it to the states? Some time-frame must be specified, say after a month, to take this decision. It cannot be left to states,” justice Maheshwari said.
Mehta clarified that the decision to hold exams will be taken by the Centre.
The court posted the matter for orders on Friday and directed CBSE to file a better affidavit.
The petitioners’ lawyer Rishi Malhotra told the court that for the subjects where the practical examination is over and theory was left, the former can be the basis for assessment. The bench refused, saying, “These nuances have to be worked out by CBSE. Once the scheme is notified and [if] it’s defective, it can be challenged in the court,” the judges said.
“I am happy that today’s decision was taken in the best interest of students and providing relief to parents,” Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said in a tweet on Thursday.
Sisodia had written to the Union human resources department ministry on June 17, requesting the pending Class 10 and 12 papers be cancelled keeping in mind the spike in Covid-19 infections.
Experts said the decision was the decision to scrap the exam was justified by how the outbreak was growing. “There could be some dissatisfaction among students really keen on taking exams. If some provision is made allowing them to sit for exam at a later date, probably this can be addressed to an extent. The important aspect is that the method chosen to mark students is a fair and equitable one,” said former University Grants Commission member Dr Inder Mohan Kapahy, adding that gatherings due to exams could lead to more cases.
(With inputs from Amandeep Shukla in New Delhi)