Blueprints helped students to strategically prepare for their board exams since it allowed them to selectively choose the chapters.

TN students facing board exams to study without blueprint Move garners mixed opinionsImage for representation
news Education Wednesday, February 05, 2020 - 19:19

For decades, it has been a standard practice among the students in classes 10, 11 and 12 in Tamil Nadu to prepare for their board exams based on a blueprint. However, since last two years, the state government has been doing away with the blueprint for higher secondary classes. This year, the Directorate of Government Examinations confirmed that class 10 students will also not be given blueprint for the board exams. 

A blueprint gives the student the break-up of marks from each chapter, question-wise. For example, questions worth 20 marks will be asked from a chapter, of which there will be one ten-mark question, one five-mark, one three-mark and one two-mark question. This document was generally relied upon by the students -- who wanted to just pass the paper, as well as by those who wanted to score a centum -- in the run up to the exams. 

Stakeholders have had mixed opinions about the existence of the blue print. While students, teachers and parents to an extent have felt that the blueprint eases the stress on the students, and helps them prepare better, there is another dimension.

A blueprint also works as a shortcut to students who just work out a strategy to study a select portion of the syllabus and still come out of the exams with flying colours. This has proven disadvantageous to the student later on, especially when they proceed to college for higher studies. It has also been a regular complaint among the professors in colleges across the state that students are woefully weak in the basics that they should have studied in higher secondary classes. 

A senior official from the Directorate of Government Examinations said that the move to discontinue blueprints for classes 10 to 12 was done because of new books for higher secondary classes. “The syllabus for all three classes --10, 11 and 12 -- changed recently, and hence there is no blueprint for those classes,” the official said. When asked if the government will do away with the blueprint system for good, the officer said that it was too early to say. 

S Arumainathan, President of the Tamil Nadu Students-Parents Welfare Association, meanwhile, welcomed the decision to scrap the blueprints. “It is a good thing. We had submitted representations for it all these years. Lack of a blueprint will push the students to study the entire syllabus without being selective about it,” he told TNM. However, he added that such changes be implemented gradually and not thrust on the students all of a sudden, since the exam stress can be overwhelming. 

Education consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi also welcomed the move and said that it is high time such changes are brought to Tamil Nadu’s school education system. “I have been recommending doing away with the blueprint for a long time now. It gives the students leeway to selectively prepare and not study the entire syllabus. This will lead to them facing a difficult situation when they pursue professional courses after schooling.” 

However, teachers across the state have taken this decision with a pinch of salt as the move could put slow learners at a disadvantage. “For students who score above the class average, this is a welcome move. However, for students who are struggling to pass the paper or get, say, 50%, a blueprint is a great tool to help them cross the line. Now this will scare them further as the exams approach,” a private school teacher told TNM. She added that instead of scrapping the blueprint system fully, the Education Department can consider giving blueprint for minimum marks in all subjects so that students across the spectrum will be benefited.