Friday, June 26, 2009

Going optional on Class X exams?

"Optional," I believe, is the keyword.

Students who wish to apply for Class XI in a school different from where they complete Class X can take the board examination. But those who are to stay on in the same school need not take the examination, under the plan Sibal articulated.

There may be other deeper issues that I'm unaware of, but here is my first reaction.

Right now, all bets are off as far as admissions to Class XI are concerned -- at any school. Unless the government makes it mandatory for schools to announce which of their students will be guaranteed admission to Class XI (and group of subjects allotted to them) well ahead of time, I can't see how this initiative will ever become viable.

Class X performs two useful functions:

  1. For a vast majority of our kids, formal education stops at Class X or before; for them, the Class X exam -- a "public exam" taken by hundreds of thousands of fellow-students -- provides a certain sense of satisfaction and closure. And a Certificate issued by a State or Central authority! I don't have to emphasize how valuable all these are.
  2. It forms a fork in one's educational journey: continue on for Classes XI and XII (and the subject group that one chooses to study), go into a craft (through Industrial Training Institutes, for example), or just stop.

Thus, Sibal's plan, even if it becomes a reality, is likely to benefit only a small number of students who get guaranteed seats in Class XI in their current schools. The alleged benefit of removal of exam-related stress is thus available, ironically, only to those who really thrive in the current system of 'stressful exams'.


  1. L said...

    True. The main victims of this would be the poor children-- those who need to find jobs after the 10th class.

  2. Yogesh K. Upadhyaya said...


    Removal of XI exam will be bad for many students particularly in rural areas. As you have stated, class X exam is termination point for many, and for some it is the passport for ITI and other craft training. Board exam std. is definitely better and more standardized than class X exam if administered by individual schools.

    Few decades ago, class VII (Vernacular Final-called "VAFA") exam was the norm and termination point for many.

    Yogesh Upadhyaya
    New Jersey

  3. Anonymous said...

    Yes...I agree with your prediction.

    Many schools filter (I think) at the 10th std i.e performance in the board exams is used to decide whether they should be allowed to continue to 12th in the same school. If not then schools that place a premium on quality will start doing so. This means that without the guarantee of admissions, many (especially medium to low performing student) will have to take the board exams just to ensure that they can survive the race by shifting to another school. In order to minimize uncertainities, the schools will make two track of students entering 10th std - one who are guaranteed admissions to 11th and the rest who are not. The former can forsake the exams and rest cannot. So there will be a big chunk of "middle " people who will have to take exams unless they have done well in their earlier standards or able to convince their school in spite of their past performance.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Yogesh's comment abt the disadvantage of rural schools and in one of the articles that has been linked there is a comment that the govt. schools are not really in competition to prove themselves through board exams.....creating two tracks/forks is not a bad idea but I hope as the disadvantaged/medium/mediocore stream is decoupled from the bright a serious attempt is made to offer opportunities to the former. For e.g. even the private tutoring systems entering India claim that training and educational service in vocational streams is not easily transferable. So ultimately the privatization doesn't seem to be helping everybody.

  5. Yogesh K. Upadhyaya said...

    From the blog of Times of India by Ramesh Khazanchi:

    Yogesh Upadhyaya
    New Jersey

  6. Anonymous said...

    Though the shift to grades is a welcome idea the educational community should be prepared to face the problem of grade inflation that is already rampant in American schools and universities and suggest solutions in the Indian context.

  7. Anay Pramod Harkare said...

    it should be abolished because there is tremendous pressure and corruption in the paper checking of the board examination system in Maharashtra.i am student and we are given lectures how to avoid the corruption. it brings a great tension on the students here