As first reported by the TOI in October 2020, the Board exams are delayed by almost 80 days this year in view of the pandemic situation. The exams are generally conducted in January (practicals) and theory exams begin every year in February (vocational subjects) and conclude in March.
In view of the COVID-19 situation and disruption of the regular classes, the CBSE following multiple consultations with stakeholders decided to reduce the syllabus by 30% as well as defer the exams to May to mitigate the academic loss.
The Board is also working on a solution for conducting the exams in over 25 countries where CBSE has a presence.
“This is a prudent decision by the government given the students are under tremendous pressure due to disruption of the academic activities. The deferred exams and rationalisation of the syllabus will help the students,” said Swati Jain, editor, Oswal Books.
With no clarity on the board exam dates so far, several schools have already conducted pre-board exams online to keep the students prepared.
The CBSE had earlier this month announced that board exams in 2021 will be conducted in written mode and not online.
Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were partially reopened in some states from October 15.
However, a few states have decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in the number of infections.
The board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later cancelled and the results were announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.
The Ministry of Education had also announced that JEE-Mains for admission to engineering colleges will be held four times a year starting 2021 to offer flexibility to students and a chance to improve their scores.
The first edition of the Joint Entrance Examination-Mains (JEE-Mains) will be held from February 23 to 26, followed by rounds in March, April, and May.
The delay in board exams, however, may affect the conduct of the medical entrance exam NEET-UG which is usually conducted in May. There is no official communication on the same yet.
“We appreciate strategic planning of CBSE with regard to conduct of CBSE Board Examinations 2021. Starting in the first week of May will give ample time to students and teachers to prepare better. Our heartiest congratulations to Sh Pokhriyal Ji for such a balanced decision,” said Bharat Arora, general secretary, Action Committee of Unaided Private School.