Again, we are at that stage of the year where students are back to the streets (quite literally). Last year, we saw students on the streets for lotta reasons. Somewhere it was fee hikes, somewhere due to violations and regular fees despite pandemic. This year too this can be termed as the second student agitation. This new #cancelboards2021 is followed by the SSC agitation that we saw last month. So, Should Boards Exams be Cancelled? Let’s discuss.
DISCLAIMER: This is an open debate and we have our different schools of view and we are free to express them as sophisticated educated person.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Why Boards Exams Should be Cancelled?
If Education Can Happen Online why not Exams?
#wecandoitonline because if the education institutes expect that 10th and 12th standard students can study online regardless of their technical limitations; then the students are not wrong when they expect ONLINE EXAMS.
— Abhi and Niyu (@abhiandniyu) April 3, 2021
This is the most common point to the debate, Should Boards Exams be Cancelled. And it’s a kind of burn to the schools, institutions, and government. Now last year, there were two categories of people. Some living in rural areas with small-screen smartphones and a crappy yet expensive network or the ones who can’t even afford either, Yes, 149 INR for 1GB/day is expensive to many to date and my experience says 1GB is never enough. This set of people literally had no education AT ALL. Even if they had, their teachers were not skilled or interested enough to teach online. Even they lacked resources.
I know as a person that most government schools followed no online teaching curriculum. Now, I can’t claim that whether it was due to the higher authorities’ incompetency or the school administration’s lack of willpower or the teacher’s laziness. But this was the ground reality in most places.
The second category of people was middle class and above, We had phones, data and resources but not all teachers did it efficiently. We had 5 hours of schooling then 4-5 hours of tuition. That’s a LOT. I’ll keep aside the physical troubles for a moment. We were clueless. I personally found few teachers good enough while rest… uninteresting. And sadly, we too learned NOTHING.
Now, even on normal sessions, most teachers rush to finish the syllabus rather than education whatsoever, so this year wasn’t very different either. But the real deal is when in both the categories everyone responsible i.e schools, institutions, government ignored and acted as online education was some kind of a breakthrough. They declared it a success in most cases.
So, if it was such a success why not conduct exams online? If during a whole year so-called 90% of students had all resources then I’m sure managing resources for 3 hours won’t be a big deal. What was even ironical was online exams. Twitter trends were running high on how the administration had no idea which server was to be allocated to which class, glitches, links coming in as late as 30 minutes and whatnot. And no one tried fixing anything, no one issued a statement acknowledging the faults, no one took a re-test to compensate students.
2. Education doesn’t matter but Marks does
People who claim that Indian education is not just about marks. Here, this is a daylight expose of this mentality. I just cannot believe that people are so ignorant to the fact that we are clueless and learned NOTHING. I think everyone knows this for a fact. But yet exams are important. Marks are important. Doesn’t matter if the student doesn’t know his/her ABCs. Doesn’t matter all the students do is mug everything up even Maths, Physics, and Accounts in April and give exams in May.
You still are supposed to score 90%. And if this has to be the reality then let’s do this every year. Remove the minimum attendance criteria, make semester exams optional and only Finals will matter. Just tell me, a medical/engineering student is doing practicals through his/her screens. If that’s okay then education from YouTube must be legit. After all, it’s my consistent teacher since I was in standard 9.
3. Right to Health
"Mantriji, doctor doctor chillate reh gaye koi poochne nahi aaya…yahan ka halat itna kharab hai, yahi mar mar gaye(papa) tadap tadap ke". In Jharkhand's capital, a wailing daughter tells the tale of sorry health infrastructure https://t.co/RV86wYgfgV pic.twitter.com/SS8aroB5Ye
— Abhishek Angad (@abhishekangad) April 14, 2021
Now, if you still decide to ignore all points but you cannot ignore this one. This is about a person’s life. I’ve friends with health conditions. And trust me, they weren’t roaming around in malls, parks and other places, They and their parents were terrified. Because Coronavirus will cost them their lives for sure. I’m fit and healthy but I too have some underlying health factors that may get me critical. Why should not I or such students have an option?
People will say that nobody will kill us if we decide to not give the exams. Well, I don’ really need to explain your logical fallacy to you. If you’re so dumb then there is no use writing this. Even if I’m strong enough to face the virus, the question is WHY SHOULD I? Would you break your bone knowingly just because it will be fixed in a month. Why should I bear the pain, stay in a hospital, be uncomfortable 24/7, bear the huge costs in medical expenses, and play hide&seek with death?
4. Because Everyone Did So?
Now, this point is not mentioned always but is one of the most important ones. Because it gives a comparative real-life analysis. Except for certain US universities rubbing against foreign students, more or less every nation either canceled exams and deduced a plan to not let it affect the students or simply introduced newer grading, examining, and assessment techniques along with online education.
Some argue that this may affect us in the future. Yes, it may especially in a nation like India where 10, 10+2 or university name is like a primary identity for a professional. But here some sort of introspection, would it be too much to ask for to ignore or give the benefit of the doubt to the batch of 2020-21? And don’t be already give tests and rounds of interview for job positions or entrance or competitive exams for colleges?
Our nation too in most places decided to pass all standards except 10 & 12 directly. Isn’t that unfair if the same logic is used? Or are you saying someone who wasn’t assessed on maths in standard 9 can compensate in standard 10 and the same for 11 standard physics, accountancy, maths students?
Also Read: How to Deal with Stress During Exams
Why Boards Exams Shouldn’t be Cancelled?
Zero Academic Year
Now believe it to not we were tuned to the theory of marks, percentage and degree at the end of a session. A Zero Academic Year is a nightmare. And even, I don’t want that. It will be an absolute waste plus deterioration of mental health. I personally am frustrated right now. And will die if Boards are postponed a month or two.
And since we are a part of the chain, Zero Academic Year is not possible if other standards don’t go through the same system. And clearly, they are already been given out green signals of promotion. So, let’s suppose two different batches merge together to form one. This leads to a vacuum in lower standards, an increase in competition, lack of resources for such a huge batch etc.
A Zero Academic Year will also ensure double utilization of financial resources.
2. Uncertain Future
As I’ve mentioned already, in a nation like India where 10, 10+2 or university name is like a primary identity for a professional.. So, the fear is that in the future we will simply leave a psychological effect or will be losing out advantage during a job opportunity or college admissions only because we were the batch of a pandemic that appeared for no exams.
We may be judged despite other achievements, a brilliant interview, experience levels, certificates etc. This scares every one of us. And yes, this is a legit point. This is very scary to millions, mental health is being affected. Cancellation or any new assessment technique will be poorly designed and students’ whole life will be seriously affected.
3. If not Zero Academic Year, if not Offline Exams, then HOW?
Okay, this is interesting. Suppose we agree that we won’t and can’t declare this a Zero Academic Year and then we agree that Offline Exams are too risky. Then what’s the solution. Online Exams are not possible for various reasons. Firstly, lack of infrastructure. Believe it to not anything technology wasn’t accepted by schools, parents and at times even universities. This is reduced our appetite for technological upgradation.
LOL, our parents believe the solution to any problem is our phones. Phones are still seen as something that will distract from academics, spoil character and personality. Our teachers ain’t skilled enough to conduct exams, nor does the school have the required infrastructure. Glitches, misinformation and lack of a proper code of conduct will only create newer problems for the students.
We already know, how badly managed Online Exams were. Secondly, there’s the issue of cheating. Every single student (99%) cheated their exams. Few major exams were held during the pandemic and we know how we passed ‘them.
4. Students Will Roam About Whatsoever
There is a reason why the second wave is rising at a fast rate. And just government or adults are not at fault. A huge chunk of the population is out there at malls, theatres, parks, partying etc. But believe me, it’s not as large as people claim it to be. Be and my friends are busy schoolings in the mornings and tuitions at evenings.
But yes, if students are okay being at public places so carelessly for petty reasons then something as serious as Boards Exams which will be under proper conduct can be considered.
Should Boards Exams be Cancelled? Let’s Talk Solutions
Before I start with solutions, let’s address something straight, there are tons of solutions like a new system of grading, new assessment techniques, online exam with advanced infrastructure, anti-cheating methods etc But in India where students and even teachers are frustrated with the outdated methods or teaching, grading, assessment that still depends on mugging up, co-curriculum that still just for namesake and what not.
We are struggling to support our education under normal circumstances what gives us the confidence that in such uncertain times, a brand new system can emerge and be successful in a few months’ time? Also, during the onset of the pandemic, we turned our faces to any new methodology and online classes were more or less adopted to claim fees. Yes, I’m aware that teachers were affected financially and abuse of online education was rampant.
So, I’ll just list down a few very basic plans, to sum up our blog, Should Boards Exams be Cancelled that are actually feasible and must be implemented at the earliest.
Guaranteed and Free Medical Treatment to Infected Students
He died because they didn't have ventilators or beds and recommended he go home to recuperate. He'd surface, seem fine and then sink for the past couple of days. Eventually he sank fully and never resurfaced.
— scherezadenfreude (@zaharaesque) April 14, 2021
This is not up to debate. Students must be given an assurance that if they get infected due to exams or any other factor during the exams, they will be provided a bed and FREE treatment. Teachers on exam duties. If you want something more extreme, make schools pay for some percent.
This will make sure schools are more strict towards norms.
2. COVID test after every exam
Lets every student go through compulsory COVID tests after every exam. And please don’t place the burden on them. It must be arranged by the schools and financed by the government. Exceptions can be made if students give exams with smaller gaps.
Students shall be informed by the school and authorities if they are tested positive. That region’s exams must be halted for a week to ensure that others’ safety. Many will debate that there ain’t enough resources. Well, maybe it’s true but if there aren’t just enough resources for tests then there will never be near to enough resources for treatment.
3. Alternative Date
Regions, schools, or students who miss exams due to quarantine or infection must be provided with alternative exam dates after a month.
4. Special Accommodation for Special Cases
Now, I’ve already said that some people do have serious health conditions that will make death certain to them if infected. Now, this system will be abused that I know for a fact. But it’s acceptable if even one life is protected. Separate rooms
This blog i.e Should Boards Exams be Cancelled was written 2 days ago but as of 14th April 2021, the Indian Government has already decided that exams for standard 10 are to be canceled and Standard 12 exams are now postponed until the further decision that will be taken on the 1st of June.
After this, I saw almost all my friends on my WhatsApp status spree imposing views and justifying the decision or going against it blaming the students who supported it. What I wanna say is that there is nothing called absolute truth. We now as a nation are more and more inclined to find binary answers, either a yes or a no. But things aren’t as black and white in real life. So, let’s stay calm and prepare ourselves in these uncertain times.
PS: As some of you may know that my site is now demonetized and therefore I don’t earn anything. But I’ll stay writing and fix the issue in the coming months. My only incentive is psychological, meaning your support and appreciation. Thank you, stay safe & protected