Principals in UAE happy with CBSE board exam dates

Students are ideally supposed to be in school for at least some days before they sit for their board exams.

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CBSE-affiliated Dubai schools have hailed the recent decision to hold the board exams from May 4. Educationists, experts, teachers and principals are happy that the schedule would provide schools with adequate time to practice and prepare.

Putting an end to the anxiety of students, their parents and teachers, India’s Education Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal on Thursday announced that the CBSE Class 10, 12 board exams will be held from May 4 to June 10.

Pramod Mahajan, Director-Principal of Sharjah Indian School, said: “All stakeholders are happy with the decision. Students are ideally supposed to be in school for at least some days before they sit for their board exams as that will help them acclimatise themselves. This is because many pupils have only been doing online classes for an extended period of time. It’s also important because the examinations will ultimately be held with pen and paper. So, parents who are immediately not confident of sending their children to school, get some more time to be able to send their wards back to school for onsite learning.”

He added: “Now that students are taking their board exams in May unlike March, they will commence their Grade XI classes from mid-June unlike the other grades who will begin their session in April.”

Meanwhile, Class X students are already deciding their future stream of study based on their half-yearly and preliminary examination results this year.

Throwing light on certain imminent challenges, Mahajan pointed out: “We do anticipate an operational challenge, where unlike other years, outgoing students of Class X and XII would be in school physically in the month of April along with other pupils from different grades. So logistically, we’ll have to plan a few things at our end.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Annie Mathew, Principal of Gulf Model School, said: “One group of students to bear the full impact of this decision would be the Grade 10 students especially in this part of the world where the new academic year begins in April. I feel the schools here should get together and take a collective decision so as to minimise the burden on this group of students. We need to plan creatively and put in schedules such that the students get to focus on their Grade 10 board exams. We might lose a few instructional days in Grade 11, which we need to compensate for later.”

But school heads reiterate the announcement by CBSE comes as a relief as it puts an end to all speculations and gives everyone a specific date to plan ahead.

Mathew added: “Therefore, the postponement of the exams, I believe, has evoked mixed reactions among schools and students but in the prevailing circumstances, this seems to be the best option. We will have to rework on previously planned schedules but it does give us plenty of time. We have to plan cleverly and make sure that the other grades are not affected by this decision.”

Headteachers also pointed out that though the students get extra time to prepare for the boards, “the days succeeding the exams may become hectic depending on the final preparation and schedules for the competitive exams”.

Bushra Mansoor, Headmistress, Springdales School Dubai, said: “Usually Class XI students start their bridge classes in March. But we can compensate these with an additional hour in the timetable or over the classes on the weekends. Additional exams can be added in the academic calendar. The leadership in consultation with teachers will have to work on the curriculum plan and assessment schedules especially for the students of Grade 10. Therefore, with proper foresight and planning of curriculum, with an altered timetable, the students will be ready in every way.”