Appearing for Class 10, 12 board exams twice a year won't be mandatory: Dharmendra Pradhan

Union education minister said students appearing twice for Class 10, 12 student will have the opportunity to retain the best score.

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Education minister said the Central Advisory Board of Education will be reconstituted. (Image: Twitter)Education minister said the Central Advisory Board of Education will be reconstituted. (Image: Twitter)

Press Trust of India | October 8, 2023 | 02:43 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Appearing for Classes 10 and 12 board exams twice a year will not be mandatory for students and the option is being introduced to reduce stress caused by the fear of single opportunity, union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. In an interview to PTI, Pradhan said the issue of 'dummy schools' cannot be ignored and the time has come to have a serious discussion about it.

"The students will have the option of appearing for the (Classes 10 and 12 board) exams twice a year just like 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.

"If any student feels that he is completely prepared and is satisfied with the score in the first set of exams, he can choose not to appear for the next exams. Nothing will be mandatory," he added. According to the New Curriculum Framework (NCF) announced by the ministry of education in August, board examinations will be held twice a year to ensure that students have enough time and opportunity to perform well and get an option to retain the best score. Pradhan said he has received positive feedback from students on the plan to conduct board exams twice a year.

Board exams twice from 2024

"I met students after the NCF was announced. They have appreciated this and are happy with the idea. We are trying 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."

Also Read | NCF 2023: 5 ways board exams will change from 2024

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. According to official figures, 23 students committed suicide in Kota this year -- the highest ever for the country's coaching hub. Last year, the figure was 15.

Dummy school an issue

Pradhan said the time has come to have a serious discussion on the issue of 'dummy schools'. "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 said the Centre is working towards ensuring that students do not require coaching. Several NEET and JEE aspirants enrol themselves in schools in their home states and move to Kota to attend coaching classes. They do not attend fulltime schools and directly appear for the board exams. The issue of 'dummy schools' has been flagged by several experts who believe not attending school hinders students' personal growth and they often feel isolated and stressed.

Also Read | Rajasthan government sets up committee to address issues on Kota student suicides

Asked why the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) hasn't met in the last three years, Pradhan said, "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 remodelled. "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.

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