The teachers advised the students to focus on the first half of the syllabus for the first exam and tackle the rest later.
According to the new rule, the first term objective exams are likely to be held in November-December, and the second term, which will be subjective, in March-April. The board, however mentioned the pandemic situation of the exam months would play a big role in taking a final call.
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Schools are relieved there will be no overlap of syllabus between the two exams and pressure on students will reduce. “If the exam happens in November-December, we have just three months to prepare. Of course, we will have the CBSE to guide us,” said Meena Kak, director of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy. Schools said much of the syllabus had been covered. Once the syllabus reduction was announced, students would find it easy to attend the November-December exams, they said. “CBSE knows the syllabus flow and where exactly we have reached. We need to know where to stop before the November exam,” said Vijaylakshmi Kumar, principal of Asian International School.
Examinees seemed happy. “At least, we do not have to go through our board year without taking an exam,” said Aditi Banerjee, a CBSE (science) student. “I am excited and scared at the same time. I will have to write a board exam in just three months, when we were expecting to appear for it in eight months. But this should be easy as it’s going to be 50% of the syllabus,” said Tanvi Agarwal, a CBSE X candidate.
For the first time, CBSE board exams will be held at “home centres” with external invigilators. Schools are happy though the venues will be respective schools, the exams will be conducted by the board and that there will be a parity. “We will have to teach our students the new concept of an OMR sheet. The dependence on multiple-choice questions was bound to be, given the situation now,” said Rita Chatterjee, director of North Point Boarding School.
Some academics, such as Mukta Nain, director of Birla High School, felt the 50% weightage on each half of the exam had probably been done, keeping the pandemic in mind. “If you have been unable to take the first half, you can still be assessed based on the next half. That will be a fairer assessment of a child than just falling back on school exam scores though those have also assumed a greater role with the board asking us how many exams to conduct and what pattern of assessment to follow for classes IX and XI,” she said.
CISCE schools are preparing to teach reduced syllabus of English and Indian languages (second language), following indications from the council to stick to a certain serial. “That way, every school will be broadly teaching the same topics at any given point, facilitating further reduction if necessary,” a CISCE circular to school principals read. “We can’t take the liberty of teaching a poem from the end of the list and then come back to the one on top. There is no choice,” said a school principal, adding reduction of syllabus of other subjects was expected.