Educationalists across the sector have welcomed the announcement that Class XII examinations for 2021 were being cancelled.
Praveen Raju, Co-Chair, FICCI ARISE and Founder, Suchitra Academy, said: “Given the current situation, it is the right decision to cancel the CBSE 12th Board exams. There is no way we could have held exams without compromising the safety of children. While we welcome the decision, we hope the modalities would be worked out quickly in consultation with stakeholders. Since 12th marks are an important factor affecting students’ careers, we expect CBSE to ensure students don’t get affected by the methodology of awarding marks.”
Charu Wahi, Principal, Nirmal Bhartia School, said: “This is a decision taken in the best interest of the children. However, the next step is equally critical and crucial in deciding the process and criteria based on which the children’s performance will be judged. This should be done keeping in mind that many of them make that extra effort during the last mile and should be given due advantage.”
Another challenge that requires immediate resolution on the part of the education ministry is the compilation of the results for Class 12 students.
The government is yet to devise well-defined criteria for this.
Various stakeholders have urged the authorities to opt for more comprehensive measures, which justifies students’ academic record and performance.
Adding to the concern, Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions, said: “The decision to cancel Class XII Board exams is taken in the interest of the health and safety of students and teachers. Many students and their parents will heave a sigh of relief. The uncertainty over the Class XII Board Exams happening during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had many of them anxious and nervous. But now, we move on to the next challenge, which is to come up with a fair and reliable criterion for assessing the academic performance of these students. Deserving students must be allocated grades or marks on the basis of their yearly performance. It’s a challenge that will require a great deal of meticulous thinking for arriving at a just criterion for academic assessment. I’m sure the schools and boards will rise to the challenge and deliver what is best for the students.”
Furthermore, Vishnu Karthik, CEO, The Heritage Schools, highlighted the need for a new grading system accepted by both schools and universities.
“The decision to cancel the board exams has provided some clarity and assuaged stress levels among students and parents. It wouldn’t have been an easy decision given the criticality of grade 12 exams on university admissions. The government did not have much choice as the health of students is paramount. The challenge now is for CBSE to arrive at alternative criteria to determine grade 12 marks. Any delay or any confusion on the new grading criteria will lead to more confusion and stress among students. Clear directions should also be provided to Indian universities to modify their admissions criteria so that meritocracy and fairness are not compromised.”
Various universities and high education institutes have not only accepted the verdict on cancellation of the Class 12 examinations but are also committed to extending cooperation towards the students in their step ahead towards higher education.
With the delay in exams and results in the making, universities have adopted many student-friendly policies, including re-adjusting of their admission cycles to prevent students’ careers and study plans from being jeopardised.
Expressing his openness towards the decision, Kunal Vasudeva, COO, Indian School of Hospitality, said: “We welcome the government’s decision to cancel 12th class board exams. It is a well-thought decision and rightly reflects India’s progressive stance about education at the policy level. Student safety is at the centre of all we are doing right now, and this move will certainly help reduce anxieties among both students and parents. This was the right call to take, and we are happy to adapt our admission cycle as per the new guidelines.”
Niranjan Hiranandani, Provost, HSNC University, lauded the Prime Minister’s declaration, mentioning that this decision will save from affecting millions of lives.
“The announcement repressed the uncertainty that would have otherwise affected the youth and also met the trending #cancelboardexams2021 demand of students and industry bodies while ascertaining that the academic calendar will not be affected further. The results will be compiled as per well-defined criteria by CBSE and will terminate the anxiety of stakeholders. I am happy that this decision is made in favour of India’s future, ensuring their health is not at stake.”
Hiranandani further added that now the universities should align with the well-defined assessment criteria to ensure a seamless admission procedure and welcome the upcoming cohort taking into account the current circumstances the pandemic has put us into.
Prof Milind Padalkar, Pro-Chancellor (Designate), The NorthCap University, also welcomed the decision and extended sympathetic support towards the students and families who endured emotional and financial hardship induced by the pandemic.
“Many have suffered the loss of their near and dear ones, and their grief is unimaginable. The disruption in the educational activity has been acute, and we cannot expect the students to be in a fit frame of mind to study and be prepared for the examinations. The Government needs to be complimented for having taken a compassionate view of the situation and reducing further health risks. We hope that CBSE quickly implements alternative mechanisms to assess the students reasonably so that their prospects for higher education are not impeded.”
The education sector has shown solidarity towards the decision and hopes for the concerned authorities to devise and implement a progressive and inclusive assessment system.
Moreover, the industry leaders and educationists are visualizing the current crisis as a blessing in disguise, leading to more student-friendly education reforms that focus on boosting their future study plans and career ahead.