Twice-Yearly Board Exams Optional, Not Mandatory: Dharmendra Pradhan

Twice-Yearly Board Exams Optional, Not Mandatory: Dharmendra Pradhan

Last Updated Oct - 09 - 2023, 07:35 PM | Source : The Indian Express | Visitors : 20

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announces optional biannual board exams to reduce student stress.
Twice-Yearly Board Exams Optional, Not Mandatory: Dharmendra Pradhan

According to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, taking the class 10 and 12 board exams twice a year would not be required of students, and the option is being offered to lessen stress brought on by the worry over missing out on a chance. 'Dummy schools' are an issue that cannot be ignored, according to Pradhan, and a serious conversation about them is now necessary.


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“The students will have the option of appearing for the (class 10 and 12 board) exams twice a year just like the engineering entrance exam JEE. They can choose the best score… but it will be completely optional, no compulsion.


“The students often get stressed thinking they lost a year, their chance is gone or could have performed better… the option is being introduced to reduce the stress caused by the fear of single opportunity,” Pradhan said.


Board exams will be given twice a year, in accordance with the New Curriculum Framework (NCF), which was introduced by the Ministry of Education in August, to give students the best chance to do well and retain the highest grade.


The idea to hold board exams twice a year has gotten strong feedback from students, according to Pradhan.


“I met students after the New Curriculum Framework (NCF) was announced. They have appreciated this and are happy with the idea. We are hoping that the exams are conducted twice a year from 2024 itself,” he said.


Asked about the record student suicides in Rajasthan’s Kota this year, the minister said, “It is a very sensitive issue. No lives should be lost… they are our children. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the students are stress-free.” Over two lakh students move to Kota annually to prepare for competitive exams such as the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges.


The number of suicides among students in Kota this year was 23, which is a record for the nation's coaching centre. The amount was 15 the previous year.


The issue of "dummy schools" needs to be seriously discussed, according to Pradhan.

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“The issue cannot be ignored. Although the number of such students is not very high as compared to the total number of students… the time has come to have serious discussions and deliberations on the subject,” he said.


The minister stated that the Centre is aiming to eliminate the need for coaching for students.


Many students who want to take the NEET or JEE enroll in schools in their native states before moving to Kota to attend coaching sessions. They don't go to full-time schools; instead, they just show up for the board exams.


Numerous experts have raised the topic of "dummy schools," arguing that absence from school prevents students from developing personally and makes them feel anxious and isolated.


When asked why there hadn't been a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in the previous three years, Pradhan responded, "CABE is being reconstituted."


“The older version of CABE was very broad… demands of today’s education system are different. At a time when we are making a paradigm shift with the new National Education Policy, CABE also needs to be remodeled.


“At the end of the day, CABE will review what is being introduced now, be it new curriculum, new credit framework, accreditation or any other reform,” he said.


The minister added that conversations continue with a number of other nations who have shown interest and that two IITs, Delhi and Madras, are in various phases of establishing their offshore campuses.


“The Ministry of External Affairs is coordinating it and various kinds of options and combinations are being deliberated upon. (External Affairs) Minister (S) Jaishankar himself is looking into it. I am also with him,” Pradhan said.


He claimed that soon after being decided, the rules for foreign institutions setting up campuses in India would be announced.


“We are going to make a paradigm shift. So, we will go ahead after exploring all possibilities and clearing all doubts. The guidelines are under deliberation and I am confident that the UGC will notify them soon,” he said.


Asked about the decision of states like Karnataka and West Bengal not to implement the National Education Policy (NEP), Pradhan said, “Their objections are not academic but political.” “I have still not been able to understand what their actual objection is about. West Bengal has taken out an alternative document. We have seen that and it is 99 percent similar to the NEP,” he said.


According to him, the ministries of education and skill development are collaborating to raise a new generation of students who have the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace of the twenty-first century.


We are combining education and skills to give students both intellectual and practical abilities in order to do this. Nearly 1,000 talent centers exist today, each with a thousand applicants. In the future, we intend to establish 5,000 such centers," declared Pradhan, who also serves as the minister of skill development.


"The Academic Bank of Credit enables students mobility across Higher Education Institutions and helps in seamless integration of skills and experiences into a credit-based system," he said.

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