The Class 10 and Class 12 board exams for Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) students who have opted for ‘vocational’ subjects are likely to start in February next year in order to reduce the eventual exam period for ‘core academic’ subjects from seven to four weeks, according to officials familiar with the development.
The exams for the core academic subjects are likely to be held in March, the officials said, adding that CBSE is likely to inform the schools about the new schedule shortly.
Around 2.8 million students are registered to appear for CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 examinations in 2019.
In 2018, the exams were held in March and April. A senior CBSE official said on condition of anonymity that while exams for vocational subjects will be held in school-based centres, the core subject exams will be held at external centres, as is the norm.
HT reported on June 4 that a committee formed by the HRD ministry, after allegations of leaked question papers for the 2018 exams, recommended reducing the board exam season from seven weeks to around a month. The HRD ministry had formed a panel headed by VS Oberoi, a former secretary of the ministry, and comprising seven others after the Class 10 mathematics and Class 12 economics papers were leaked in March, which triggered criticism of the way the board held exams.
The ministry tasked the committee with reviewing all aspects related to security checks to ensure that question papers reached examinees without being tampered with. The panel was also asked to assess potential points of weakness in the system of transporting question papers from. The board’s governing body met on June 28 and officials said they were finalising two lists of subjects — for exams to be conducted in February and to be held in March. Some of the popular subjects that fall in the vocational category are travel and tourism, business operation and administration, design and innovation, financial accounting, and taxation. Core academic subjects include the languages, physics, chemistry, mathematics, social sciences, and economics, among others. The board offers approximately 168 courses for Class 12 students and 70 for Class 10. In 2018, only three students opted for a course in music production, and only one student each, for courses in maternal and child health and fundamentals of nursing. “Given that there are no restrictions on what students can opt for conducting these exams usually takes about seven weeks but splitting them in two months will reduce it to at least a month,” said a committee member. Amita Wattal, principal of Springdales School, said:?“It will be really helpful for both students and teachers if the CBSE is planning to restructure the way board exams are being conducted. The idea of conducting exams for some papers in February is feasible because students, teachers and schools are in examination mode by then.”