There are certain things in our country that are considered as part of the system. Any change in these creates news and a big hullabaloo. The education system is not an untouched front certainly when change is concerned. Most of us have gone through and considered Board Exams as an integral part of the Indian education system. These act as a yardstick to measure what students have learnt in their academic year. Marks obtained in these exams show their overall standing with respect to students all across India and not just from their own class or school. Apart from measuring skill and knowledge of the students, results of board exams plays a vital role in getting admission to universities. Throughout your life, these marks remain with you and help you in getting a job. But in spite of all these advantages, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has abolished the class 10th Board Exam.
The reason cited for this change – CBSE Board Exams create an unnecessary burden on the students that hamper their education as well as performance at exams. Some of the students are not able to cope with the exam pressure and commit suicide. But before abolishing Board Exams it is important to understand- who pressurizes students for obtaining marks? Is it just the Board Exams or teachers or parents or the own complexes of students? Therefore, before changing or replacing the external Board Exam with internal ones we need to have a thorough clarity on the entire matter.
CBSE in 2011-12 had introduced the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in which the Board Exams were made optional. This was done to relieve students from the fear and stress of Board Exams. It was left to the students whether they wanted to sit for these exams or opt for the school-based exam program. In 2012-13, the school-based program was made compulsory for all the students. Initial response towards this change was tepid, as less than 10% of students from Andhra Pradesh had opted for CCE and the rest sat for Board Exams. However, this percentage had gone up to 40% the next year with more students opting for the CCE system. CBSE has ensured that to do a fair evaluation, answer sheets from various schools will be randomly checked and the question papers will be provided by the CBSE. It is just the evaluation that has been left to the schools, not the entire exam.
But if the Board Exams have been abolished just to reduce the exam pressure, then it must also be considered that such kind of exams prepare students on the academic front. Instead of scraping the Board Exams, the system of assessment and evaluation must be reformed. At present, students study because they want good marks not because they want to learn. So, a change should be focused towards learning so that there is less of rote learning and more of understanding. Question papers should be set in a way that it judges the overall knowledge of the student rather than forcing him or her to write what he or she has remembered. Also creativity and self-formulated correct answers should be given more weight compared to bookish answers.
Board Exams should be reinstated as removal of these exams would also dump the motivation factor of students towards studies. If not at this stage, they will feel the pressure of Board Exams at 10+2 level or pressure of any kind during their life time. Hence, scrapping such exams is not a solution.
Initially, some of the State Boards did not recognize any school-based examination. The Maharashtra government, for instance, ruled that CBSE students who took the Board Exams are eligible to apply to junior colleges through the centralized admission process (CAP). Admission to students who sat for school-based examination would be given if any seat remained vacant after CAP was complete. So, this was the biggest disadvantage for the students who took the school-based exam. Though this problem has been solved, nonetheless we should have a system in place that is tested and tried over a period of time rather than a brand new system. Assessment can be biased in case of school-based exams. CBSE will do only a random check but not look at each and every answer sheet.
The biggest reason of scrapping the class 10th Board Exams is the undue stress associated with these exams. But the whole situation can be seen from another angle: students should be taught to handle the stress rather than expecting just the extreme. They should learn the value of time management, benefits of early exam preparation and scheduling rather than cribbing over Board Exams.
Not only this, but Board Exams give a clear-cut indication on where you stand among students across India. Healthy competition is an important part of life and one should not find ways to escape. It should be faced with confidence. If you do not score well in Board Exams, then it is an indication that you must work hard so that you can do well in your next 10+2 Board Exam. In a way, these exams prepare you as a fighter.
So, I think that Board Exams should not be considered a hurdle but a stepping-stone towards success. Take the exams in a positive manner and use these to gain confidence and strength. Exams will mentally prepare you for all your future examinations and competitions.