Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi is one of the largest exams conducting body/board in the world. It is renowned and respected for providing base to the students and teachers and is all important for its progressive approach in the field of education. Though, in our country we have more than 38 boards, but CBSE remains in focus more than any other board, including ICSE. The reason for this, maybe, that the board comes directly under the supervision of HRD ministry and is also considered to be one of the most active board which believes in innovation in the field of teaching and learning pedagogy.
This board came into existence in 1962. It then had 309 schools affiliated to it. It has grown in size many folds and as per the data of CBSE website, it has 18694 schools in India and 211 schools in foreign countries affiliated to it. Out of which, 1117 are Kendriya Vidyalayas, 850 are Jawahar Navodaya Vidualaya’s, 2720 are Government/Aided schools, 14 are Central Tibetan schools and 14253 are independent schools.
The prime focus of CBSE is to:
- · Reform the evaluation and examination practices
- · Regularly updating the pedagogical skills of teachers and school administrators.
- · Provide skill based learning by adding job oriented and job linked inputs
- · Introduce innovation in teaching and learning methodology.
When we read the main objectives of the board on the CBSE website, the words quality and excellence feature quite a number of times. It is heartening to know that the objectives of the board emphasise on increased quality and excellence, but has the board lived up to its reputation and fulfilled the set objectives?
There have been a number of instances when the students were considered to be the tools of experiment and changes were enforced in the name of reforms without seriously realising the effect they could have on them. This has especially happened in the last 6-7 years when CCE pattern was introduced mid session. Very recently, CCE has been abolished and the annual examination system has been reintroduced in class X. The schools have been directed to follow a fixed pattern of evaluation from class VI onwards. In the last few months CBSE has been in the news for certain decisions taken abruptly, for example doing away with the moderation policy, which drew a lot of criticism from all corners, parents and students alike. It was only after the court intervened that CBSE continued with the policy of moderation and declared results accordingly.
Since the results were declared there has been a lot of criticism based on the marks obtained by the students in some subjects from different regions of India and abroad. Very recent news revealed that on verification the marks have increased by more than 200 % and the students who had been declared failed, passed in one or more subjects. Morevover, till last year CBSE supplied the photocopy of answer sheet if applied by a student and rechecking was done, but once again, CBSE has scraped the recheck policy, though, the photocopy of the answer sheet is still available. Some students and parents have already approached the court against the no-rechecking of answer sheets and they are expecting court verdict soon. I do not understand why CBSE should not continue with the rechecking policy, even when a large number of students are not satisfied with the marks obtained by them. CBSE gave the reason that it had constraints of resources so they stopped the practice of rechecking. If this is so then why the number of schools has been added to this unmanageable number? They also say that only 0.21% students got change in their marks after rechecking, but does CBSE not care for even one student? Even if one student suffers this cannot be ignored. CBSE please realise that every individual is important. Are these .21% students not important for CBSE? Should they suffer because of the negligence on the part of the examiner? (who is also a so called respected teacher).
I can say from my own experience that last year in our school, after re-evaluation, 8 students had an increase of 5-15 marks in the subject of English. This changed their percentage and increased their chances of getting admission in reputed colleges, significantly. I think that the marks of more students would have increased if other students and their parents would have been more vigilant and applied for the photocopy of the answer sheets. Their marks were increased, despite the fact that there was a limit of getting only 10 questions rechecked. If this condition was not there, maybe, the increase in marks would have been much more.
I do not know, if any action was taken against the examiners who played with the future of the students due to this casual approach while checking the answer sheets. When we talk of quality, it should be in every aspect of education, including teaching, learning and evaluation process. Unfortunately, based on the result that students get every year, the evaluation process and the quality of evaluation process desires a lot of intervention on the part of the authorities. Has anybody tried to review the system and tried to find out the lacuna and problems faced by the examiners or the CNS (Chief Nodal Supervisor). On the basis of my experience, I can say that the teachers who act as examiners cannot be necessarily blamed for the entire problem in the evaluation process, but probably the system in which they work needs a overhauling. The board and annual examination of all the schools are conducted in the month of March. The teachers are involved in the evaluation of the answer sheets of internal students and at the same time they are given the duty of evaluating the board answer sheets also. Most of the schools begin their new academic session from first of April onwards, so the subject teachers are required to teach students in their respective schools and also evaluate the answer sheets for the boards. Due to this, the teachers get pressurized and are at times unable to focus on their additional work, which is as important as teaching, if not more. In many a cases, the teacher appointed by the boards tend to say NO for this important work, because of some genuine problems (health etc.) and many a times because of travel distance etc. CBSE on the other hand wants to have the answer sheets evaluated and dispatched to the regional offices, within a stipulated time, across the country. So the head examiner and the examiners are under stress to finish the work as early as possible, because board has to declare result on time. These are very few points that I have raised which might be contributing to the problem of bad evaluation by some examiners. Hence it is suggested that if the examinations of board and schools, be conducted in the month of March or April and then the summer vacation is declared. The new session can start from 15th June onwards and in between the evaluation work and result declaration can be completed. This way, the examiners can commit themselves completely on evaluation work and erroneous checking on their part can be reduced significantly.
Also, the children will be more enthusiastic in joining next class in the month of June, after enjoying their summer break with their family and friends (as it used to be earlier followed by most of the state boards). The excitement of going to the next class has been lost because there is almost no gap between Annual exam and the date of commencement of the next session.
As I mentioned in the beginning that quality and excellence are the key words in the objectives of CBSE, hence the quality and excellence should never be compromised for any reason because this can harm the future of the students who work very hard throughout the year. CBSE must understand that if the evaluation system was proper, then, so many students would not have applied for verification or rechecking of the answer sheets. But mind it that CBSE alone cannot do everything. The schools and teachers should also commit to ensure that the task of evaluation should be done more seriously. The students and their future is of prime importance to all of us (not just parents) ,hence this is the collective responsibility of all concerned to review and revisit the entire process of evaluation and take corrective measures at the earliest possible.