Coronavirus: UAE schools ready for on-site CBSE exams

'The exams will be conducted following all Covid-19 protocols.'

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UAE schools are prepared to conduct the forthcoming Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board exams in the written mode, school heads in the country have contended.

This comes after the CBSE earlier announced that board exams will be conducted on-site and not online.

A statement from a CBSE spokesperson said: “The exams, as and when they are conducted, will be in written mode and not in online mode. The exams will be conducted following all Covid-19 protocols.”

‘Welcome move’

Hailing the decision, school heads in the UAE said that they were braced to tackle every situation and will ensure seamless conduct of the exams with strict adherence to anti-Covid guidelines.

Annie Mathew, Principal of Gulf Model School, said: “Written mode of exams is the most reliable way of assessing students. Schools in the UAE have been very successful so far in overcoming the challenges that came in the wake of the pandemic. The same goes for conducting the written board examination as well and we are sure that we can adapt to the new norms with proper planning, while following the guidelines of the authorities. The schools, which are exam centres, will definitely need more resources in terms of staff, space, and sanitisation equipment so as to follow the Covid-19 protocols and ensure smooth and safe conduct of the exams.”

Dr Brian Gray, Principal, Springdales School, Dubai, pointed out: “The number of invigilators will have to be increased and students given instructions to use their own modes of transport to reach the venue of the exam.”

Head teachers further explained that conducting CBSE board exams in written mode with protocols in place will definitely require an extra effort from schools.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal of Credence High School, said: “Schools will require more classrooms to make seating arrangements for students, maintaining the required distance of 2m among students. Additionally, sanitisation of question papers and answer sheets may be a challenge for schools.”

Some schools, who have effectively conducted the trials of the same during their mid-term exams, exuded confidence about holding in-person exams.

Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal of Gulf Indian High School Dubai, emphasised: “Our second term examinations were conducted in the written mode at the school for grades 9 to 12 in November. The pre-board and annual examinations for these classes have also been planned to be conducted in the same way. So we are quite optimistic about it all.”

‘Progressive outlook’

Many other headmasters highlighted that UAE students, who are continuing with their classes from India, will also need to be kept in mind.

Arogya Reddy, Principal, Ambassador School Sharjah, pointed out: “In this region, the Covid-driven disruptions have been relatively far less and many students have started returning to schools physically now. But more students should return for face-to-face classes now and this decision by CBSE will lead parents to think more on those lines, especially as the UAE has controlled the situation quite well as compared to many other countries. Therefore, having on-site exams is a very good idea as schools here are definitely prepared for it.  The one challenge that I foresee is that children who are continuing from India will need to be allotted nearby local centres and those requests to the board will have to go in from the school principals. But the board has a very progressive outlook and is quite student-friendly.”

He added: “The second thing is, apart from having a greater number of centres to maintain Covid-19 protocols, we would also request the UAE government to conduct PCR tests of all staff and students before the board exams are held. Any student who tests positive will apparently be allowed to sit for compartment exams. But certain things are subject to further clarification from the board as we proceed closer to the exam dates.”

Source: Khaleej Times