The Centre is likely to favour a short duration exam -- 90 minutes instead of 3 hours -- for the Class 12 board exams and state boards will be allowed to take their own decision on the matter, sources said after a meeting of a group of ministers this afternoon, led by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The meeting was held amid objections to exams from several states, which cited the health risk to teachers and students.
After the meeting, the Education ministry said the states have been asked to send their feedback by May 25 and the Centre will "examine the suggestions received from the various State Governments this week and convey further information in this regard to the students by or before the 1st of June 2021".
During a presentation made at the meeting, the Central Board of Secondary Education suggested two options and a "flexible approach" for the exams, which were postponed in view of the second wave of Covid infection.
Under the first option, the exams can be conducted within a period of three months -- one month of pre-exam activities and two months for the exams and declaration of results. Another 30 days will be allowed for the compartment exams. Exams will be held only for major subjects and marks for minor subjects will be allotted on basis of performance in the major subjects.
August could be a likely month for holding these exams, and the whole process is likely to go on till end September, the board said.
The exams will be of three-hour duration and held at designated centes.
Under the second option, 90-minute exams -- instead of the usual three-hour version -- will be held in 19 major subjects. The students have to appear in one language and three elective subjects only. Based on their performance in these subjects, the result of fifth and the sixth subjects, as the case may be, will be assessed. The exams will be held at designated and limited number of exam centres.
The students can take the exams at their own schools. "As the question papers will be delivered in electronic format to the centres, these exams do not need elaborate logistics and can be deployed and conducted in a flexible and responsive manner," the CBSE said in their suggestions.
The second option suggests the exams can be held twice by the board. Wherever the conditions are conducive, examinations could commence from a suitable date.
In the remaining locations the examinations will start after a fortnight of the first phase.
In case a student cannot write the exam due to any Covid-related issue, he/she will be provided another opportunity to sit for the exam.
The first phase exams can begin around July 15 and the second phase in the first week of August, the board said. The results can be declared by September 5.
"There is flexibility in this approach as the exam will be conducted in two phases, will be at own schools and will be of a shorter duration," the board said.
Last year, the board exams were disrupted midway due to the pandemic and lockdown and remaining exams had to be rescheduled. But those exams also could not be held and the results were finally declared on the basis of an assessment scheme.
This time, the Board Exams for Class X were cancelled and an internal assessment was suggested by the CBSE.
For the 14,30,247 students who had registered for the Class 12 exams, the board exams were scheduled between May 4 and June 14, instead of the usual mid-February. But the exams were postponed amid the countrywide Covid crisis. Even now, ministers in some states object to the holding of exams.
The Delhi government wanted exams to be cancelled for fear for exam centres becoming super spreader events. It wanted an aggregate of students' performance based on the Class 10 model.