Steady increase in COVID cases created a sense of great anguish. The demands for cancellation of exams were raised from various quarters. The decision to cancel/postpone has been taken in response to the nationwide chorus of #cancelboardexams2021.
Considering the health, well being of lakhs of students and keeping in mind the current scenario, this seems to be a judicious decision. My views as a mother of a Class X student, are similar to parents who felt that health of the young must be prioritised. It is a positive and a practical move from health perspective, imperative step indeed.
However, as an educator teaching X and XII students from past so many years, this decision is certainly mind boggling and disheartening. For my students who have burned the midnight oil and for me who struggled with them physically and mentally even after testing COVID +ve just for sake of this exam, now find oursleves stuck in a limbo. Students and Teachers, finally have borne the biggest brunt of COVID and the uncertainties surrounding the decision.
Students have slogged the entire year and now 2020 turns out be a zero academic year, a non confirmatory year. 2020 was a physically as well as a psychologically challenging year for students and educators, both adapting themselves to the new virtual learning system. Uncertainty gripped the children throughout, be it in the form of reduced syllabus, school closures, unaccessible online platforms, school exams postponement or in form of mental health issues due to increasing screen time. But inspite of all this, they were working hard to bring laurels to their parents and school.
Government in their decision stated that result of X Board will be prepared on basis of an objective criterion. Now question arises what will be this so called criterion? Will it be fair? Will students of Class X be able to get their desired stream on basis of such evaluation? X boards are of immense importance as they enrich students with “exam experience“. It helps them assessing their stream choice. What if such kind of criterion fails against their expectations, would they have to wait for their exams to get administered to be enrolled for next year? How long will they have to wait?
Uncertainties and suspense loom large.
Similarly, XII board exams have different kind of sanctity attached to it as all higher studies opportunities and career choices are dependant on the score in the Class XII examination. After this decision of postponment, future of 12 th class students are in jeopardy, as it completely upends their plans for future. Some are preparing for competitive exams like NEET, JEE and some have registered for foreign universities. Their entire calender is now disrupted and they are now apprehensive about their future. Delay in announcing exam dates will definitely have negative psychological impact and will prove out to be a stressor.
Being a parent and educator this decision has evoked mixed thoughts. It is indeed the “need of the hour” but it will impact a lot more . Greatest worry for educator,students and parents should be, "this one and half year of educational loss"...what we have lost in the process of learning?
We are missing the main point that it is the mental health of children, which is paramount in child centred learning system. Considering the situation we all have to accept and bear it. I urge students not to give up on the preparation of today, as it will be very beneficial for the results of tomorrow.
“Tough times call for tougher decisions“.
A Parent and Educator: Tabassum Jaipuri