The Central Board of Secondary Education has announced that examinations for grades 10 and 12 will be held between May 4 and June 10. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the dates have been pushed back by almost two months.
Usually, grade 10 exams would begin in early March and last for a month whereas grade 12 exams would last from early March to late April. The results used to be then declared in May with the admission process for junior college and degree college commencing soon after. Other education boards like the ICSE and state boards might take the CBSE's cue and postpone their exams too.
However, the postponement of the exams is like a double-edged sword. While students will be glad to get more time to prepare for the exams, it will also lead to a host of problems, particularly for colleges and students seeking to study abroad.
What are the dates for CBSE board exams?
Written exams will be held from May 4 to June 10, 2021. Practicals, projects and internal assessments will begin from March 1 until the last date of the theory exam for that particular grade. The CBSE will release the exam schedule in the coming weeks.
Postponement a relief for schools and students
Students and schools have mostly reacted positively to the news as it will provide them more time to complete the syllabus. The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the start of the academic year in 2020.
Despite the CBSE truncating the syllabus for the academic year 2020-21 by 30%, schools have found it difficult to conduct classes in an online set up. To avoid a repeat of last year where the CBSE had to cancel exams, it has decided to postpone the exams from its original schedule to allow students to be better prepared.
Admissions to become complicated
The revised schedule has complicated matters for colleges and students applying for universities. Colleges are concerned that a delay in admission process will lead to a congested academic year for the second year in a row.
"If CBSE board exams are completed by June, then the final results will be declared by the end of July. Taking a cue, other states may also delay the Class X, XII board exam pushing the results cycle to August. When do we begin the admission process?" said a principal of a Delhi college to Moneycontrol.
With a full syllabus to teach, colleges fear that they might have to shorten or scrap Diwali and Christmas vacations to ensure semester exams are held in January.
Schools and junior colleges will also have to figure out how to teach students who will be moving on to grades 10 and 12 this year even as current students prepare for board exams at the same time. Teachers would be forced to run simultaneous classes or may have to work double shifts to cater to both batches.
"The next board exams will be on full syllabus and they might not be delayed so the current class 11 which will move to class 12 in about April would be run simultaneously with the present batch of class 12 students. We would have to run online batches or ensure management for both batches," Dr Rajesh Kumar Padhy, Vice Principal Academics, ODM Public School told the Indian Express.
Students planning to apply for universities abroad will be affected. Universities across the world had delayed their admission process in 2020 due to the pandemic, but might not do the same in 2021.
"Say a student from India wants to study in Australia after Class XII. He/she will find it tough to apply because admissions are usually completed there by the first week of July every year. The student will lose out a year due to this,"education consultant Puneet Oberoi told Moneycontrol.