The CBSE had taken the step to lift the stress of public exams off the shoulders of students.
When the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) decided to make the Class X exams optional in 2009, thousands of students and parents felt relieved. The CBSE had taken the step to lift the stress of public exams off the shoulders of students.
From 2010-11 session, a large number of students, registered with the CBSE in Class X, started opting for 'internal evaluation' by their schools throughout the year. As per the data provided by the board, of the nearly 16 lakh students around 8 lakh opted for the internal evaluation, last year.
However, when the CBSE decided to revert its decision in 2016 and announced to re-introduce boards for Class X from the 2017-18 session, it came as a surprise for students. "We were not used to writing three-hour long paper and studying the entire syllabus for one exam. It was the first time when we were doing this. It was really a challenge for us," said Rimjhim Agarwal, one of the All-India topper.
For schools, the major challenge was to "mentally" prepare the students and parents. "We conducted a lot of extra classes and mock tests to prepare students. It was like a jolt for them. We even had to conduct counseling sessions for the parents twice last year," said DPS RK Puram principal, Vanita Sehga.
Similarly, several other schools conducted multiple workshops to prepare students and parents and a series of mock-tests till the last month. "After really poor pre-board results, we had to conduct the extra-assessment test at Delhi government schools to improve the internal marks (20) of students," said principal at a Delhi government school. The Delhi government had also conducted special meetings to counsel parents of Class X aspirants. The Delhi government's Education Department had also served notices to several schools and teachers over poor pre-board results in January.
Parents, too, were stressed. "The task was to help my son practice how to sit and write a paper for three hours at a stretch. I even switched off television for three months to avoid any distraction," said Shikha Singh, a parent.
Until last year, under the CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) system, the optional board exam was conducted for just 40 marks out of 100. They only had to cover what they had studied in the winter semester. "Another 40 marks were for the internal exam held at the end of the first semester and the remaining 20 for other curricular and co-curricular activities," said principal at another government school.