CBSE and CISCE, along with various state education Boards like Telangana and Gujarat, have already reduced the academic load for the 2021 Class X and XII exams by up to 30%. However, with the schools remaining closed and classes held only via online/distance mode, officials of both the Boards say there could be a need to further reduce the syllabus. A senior CBSE official said no decision has been taken by the Board yet, but added, “Post 30% reduction in July, there has been no normal classes and if the situation continues like this, there is likelihood of further reduction of the syllabus for the Board exams. The Board will take a call soon whether the exams are to be conducted based on 70% or 50% of the syllabus.”
Gerry Arathoon, chief executive, CISCE, said “Given the present scenario, there is a possibility of further reduction of the syllabus. Though, one cannot say right now to what extent it could be slashed for the 2021 exams.”
“The standards for online classes vary from school to school or from urban to semi-urban and rural areas and therefore we are expecting some physical classes to happen before the exams. We will have to wait for it to happen and review the situation. Therefore, in all likelihood the Board exams may have to be shifted to April or beyond to accommodate classroom teaching and completion of the syllabus. Schools are also asking us to defer the dates as well as reduce the syllabus by 50%,” said the CBSE official.
“Another challenge would be to conduct the exams with Covid-19 protocol and social distancing,” he said. Both the national Boards are now waiting for some directives from the ministry of education before taking a final call.
“We are waiting for some direction — whether the academic year will be extended so that the syllabus can be completed. Then the exams will have to be shifted, probably to May or even later,” said Arathoon. Both the CBSE and CISCE usually conduct the Board exams in February-March. Apart from disrupting classes, the pandemic impacted this year’s Board exams and those of universities and colleges besides competitive tests. In fact, the CBSE and CISCE could not complete the 2020 Board exams and students were given marks based on revised assessment schemes for the remaining papers.