CBSE 12th Board Exams: Decisions made and all that has happened so far

# May 25, 2021 by Ojasvi Gupta

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) held a meeting for reaching a decision about Class 12 board exams on 23rd May virtually. More subsequent meetings will be conducted on May 25. 

The issue of Class 12 board exams and entrance exams for professional courses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed on May 25 as well in a high-level meeting between four union ministers, state education ministers, and education ministries secretaries.

To check important dates like Application, Admit Card, Exam Date, Result Date etc of Boards and Entrance Exams after 12th Click here (Register on the website to apply filters of Board, Courses and Exams)

The meeting will be chaired by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. A decision will be taken after discussion with various ministers including Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, former HRD Minister and Minister of Women and Child Development Srmiti Z Irani, and former HRD Minister and currently minister of I&B Prakash Javadekar. 

The board exams, which are usually conducted in February-March every year, were scheduled to be held from May 4. But due to the second wave of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns in every state, board exams for Class 12 were postponed.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is expected to hold class 12 board exams from July 15 to August 26. The CBSE Class 12 board exam dates, 12th timetable, and CBSE exam format will be announced on June 1. As soon as Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announces the dates, students will be able to check the CBSE 12th board exam dates at the official website-- cancelation of class 12 offline exams.

The CBSE has proposed conducting exams between July 15 and August 26 and the result to be declared in September, according to sources. The final decision will be out on June 1.

The exams, however, will not be held as per the regular protocol. CBSE had suggested either holding exams only or a few subjects or holding exams for 1.5 hours instead of three hours. Most of the states in the meeting held yesterday between high-profile ministers and state education secretaries have drifted towards the latter option. Some ministers, however, had demanded a mix of both possibilities.

If plan B is accepted, then the exam pattern will also be changed. For a 1.5 hours exam, there will only be MCQs and very short type questions in the exam to allow students to complete the exam in the given time.

The exams will be of 90 minutes duration instead of three hours and will be conducted in the same schools where students are enrolled. The questions will be objective and very short answer type. Students will have to appear in one language and three elective subjects. The tentative timeline for this option is the first phase of exams from July 15 to August 1 and the second phase from August 8-26. Exams are proposed to be conducted on Sundays also.

CBSE in its proposal had also suggested that in plan B, students can be given an option of appearing for exams at a later stage too which will mean that if a student misses an exam due to COVID-19 related issue, they can appear for the boards about 15 days later, however, if this facility will be offered or not will be known on June 1.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed that it will conduct the Class 12 Board examination only for major subjects. A CBSE student takes a minimum of five and a maximum of six subjects. Of these, usually, four are major subjects.

Under the first option, the national board has proposed that examinations for the major subjects be held in the “existing format” and at designated examination centers. Under the second format, which will take only 45 days, the CBSE has proposed that Class 12 students sit for the major subject exams in their own schools (read self-centres), instead of designated centers.

Further, the exams will be held under strict precautions. Social distancing will be followed while making students sit for the exams. In 2020 too the CBSE board exams were held amid precautions, however, the exams had to be canceled mid-way.

While parents and students had raised concerns that regarding the health and the worry of the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said, “Both students’ and teachers’ safety, security, and future are supremely important to us."

While the minister said that there was a consensus, states including Maharashtra and Delhi have openly disagreed with the move. Pokhriyal has given states, especially those in disagreement, time till May 25 to submit their detailed proposals.

After the deliberations on Sunday, the Union Education Minister said, "The meeting was extremely fruitful as we received immensely valuable suggestions. I have requested the state governments to send me their detailed suggestions by May 25. I am confident we will be able to arrive at an informed, collaborative decision regarding the exams and remove the uncertainty among student's and parent's minds by informing them of our final decision at the earliest."

"I want to reiterate that students’ and teachers' safety, security, and future are supremely important to us. While a broad consensus was there among the states and UTs about conducting the exams, they have been asked to examine the matter further and send their feedback," he added.

Mr. Pokhriyal on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has desired that any decision that affects students has to be taken after consultation with states and the education stakeholders – teachers, parents, and students. “The Hon’ble Prime Minister has desired that any decision affecting the careers of his beloved students has to be taken in wide consultations with all State Governments & Stakeholders. I recently held a meeting with the State Education Secretaries in this regard,” the minister said.

While addressing a press conference post the high-level meeting, Delhi deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, said that the Delhi government is not in favor of conducting Class 12 board exams.

“This is not the right time to conduct exams. We must not fall for following the conventions and traditional practices of conducting exams. We are suggesting that Class 12 students should be evaluated based on performance in internal assessments. If a student is not satisfied with the awarded marks, they should be allowed to appear for exams at a later point,” Sisodia said.

Several state and national level entrance examinations, including the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main for Engineering and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for postgraduate medical examination were earlier postponed, amid scares of the second wave of COVID-19.

Amid the coronavirus, two sessions of JEE Main 2021, which were scheduled to be conducted in April and May, were postponed until further notice. In 2020, the JEE Main exam was also deferred due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The JEE Main 2020 was conducted from September 1-6, followed by JEE Advanced 2020 on September 27.

The education minister had earlier announced that the NEET-UG 2021 examination will be conducted on August 1. However, there have been no updates regarding the application process or admit card release so far. The education minister is expected to discuss the same during today's meeting. 

After the postponement of JEE Main April and May session, JEE Advanced which was scheduled for July 3 has been postponed as well. IIT Kharagpur, the organizing institute for the exam, has released a notification on their website stating that the exam stands postponed amid rising in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Students who had successfully registered to appear in JEE Advanced in 2020 but were absent for the examination due to COVID-19, will be allowed to directly reappear this year. These students have been exempted from writing JEE Main 2021. They can directly appear in exams this year.

The CGBSE (Chattisgarh Board Secondary Education) class 12 students will be able to appear for board exams from home. Students will get the question papers and answer sheets from June 1 to June 5 for the chosen subjects. Students will have to submit the handwritten answer sheet within five days, which means that if a student is receiving the question paper on June 1, he/she will have to submit the answer sheets by June 6.

Bihar State Education Minister informs that Bihar favors the conduct of CBSE Class 12 exams as they are important for students. However, the examinations should be held online, and after the current situation eases, added Minister.

Most of the states have supported the CBSE’s proposal to conduct the Class 12 Board examination for only 19 major subjects in a shortened format in July-August. According to sources, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Assam, and Tamil Nadu were among the states that supported holding the Board examinations in the shortened format.

Delhi, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra are among states that not in favor of going ahead with the examinations, said an officer who attended Sunday’s meeting of state Education Ministers and Education Secretaries that was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. 

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will begin the annual tele-counseling sessions for class 10 and 12 students from May 24 onwards. Students of Class 10 and 12 along with their parents can avail themselves the tele-counseling facility at toll-free number 1800 11 8004.

A PIL (Public Interest Litigation) has also been filed in the Supreme Court against the cancellation of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 12 board exams.


About Author

Ojasvi Gupta
Ojasvi Gupta

Ojasvi Gupta has worked for the Indian Express and Enactus DSC as a writer. Currently pursuing BCom Hons from Delhi University, she loves to spend her free time listening to music, reading, or playing with her dog. With her strong inclination towards writing, she serves as an author for Educere India.