Most teachers and parents are demanding that the exams be cancelled, and students be judged on internal marks.

Student looking serious before an SSLC exam in BengaluruRepresentative image courtesy PTI/Bengaluru
Coronavirus Education Monday, June 29, 2020 - 19:18

When Rahul began preparing for his Class 10 board exams with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) in February this year, little did he know that he’d still be preparing for the exams even five months later. The practical exams have been postponed indefinitely, while it was announced that the theory exams will be held between July 17 and August 13.

Rahul’s teacher Ambika says, “As children with disabilities, they need special training, and need to be continuously coached to write their exams. They have difficulty remembering things, and the constant postponements is adding to the stress of writing the exams.” She adds that this is the second time that the NIOS Class 10 and 12 board exams are being postponed, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ambika who is the Head of Centre for learning difficuties, Vidyaniketan Academy, adds that most of the children who opt to take the exams under NIOS have learning difficulties. “Usually, children with various challenges opt for NIOS. This means that the majority of the students writing under NIOS are children with disabilities. The postponement of exams is adding to their trauma,” she says.

The teacher points out that other boards have chosen to cancel their board exams and are instead assessing their students based on internal marks. However, there has been no such announcement from NIOS, where the number of students is much smaller compared to other boards. Most teachers and parents are demanding that the exams be cancelled, and students be judged on internal marks.

Ambika laments, “Everyone talks about inclusivity, but when it comes to the education of children with disabilities, nobody speaks up. There is no big lobby fighting for them.”

Srinivas, a parent of a student enrolled in the NIOS system, says, “The board should look into averaging out the marks from the previous exams. Some students have already written certain exams and taken practical exams too. Supposing the exams get further postponed, our children lose out to students who are registered with ICSE and CBSE. Admissions will begin and all the seats will be taken. We don’t want our children to lose out an entire year,” pointing out that children with disabilities were already marginalised.

According to official data, about 3,000 Class 10 and 12 students have registered to write the NIOS board exams in Karnataka this year.

V Satish, the Regional Director of NIOS in Karnataka, says, “Deliberations are going on at the headquarters level. They have to make a decision jointly with the Education ministry. We’re hopeful that a decision will be reached soon.”