As Covid cases in Delhi, NCR schools rise, CBSE’s decision to change exam center raises concerns
Delhi and cities in the NCR are seeing a continued rise in Covid cases. While the positivity rate has shown an upward trend in recent days, the most concerning fact is that schools that have reopened after an interval of almost two years are reporting Covid cases.
At a time when schools are struggling to contain the spread of the virus among students, there is a greater challenge ahead and that will be the CBSE Term-2 board exams, which will begin in May. If the current trend continues, May could be the most crucial month, while containing the virus will be the top priority.
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In a significant change from the first semester exams for grades 10 and 12, the CBSE has decided to allocate centers for the second semester exams away from students’ schools. This decision has not been welcomed by students and parents and even many schools are questioning the logic behind this change from first term exams.
Not only schools, but medical experts are also opposed to the idea of assigning centers away from home schools. Some key factors will affect overall student safety concerns if centers are located far from their schools.
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Factor 1: “Homeschooling” offers a better perception of safety for students
In most cases, the school in which a student studies is close to his residence. This allows them to travel less and get to the exam center easily. In any case, a student is more familiar with the atmosphere of the school in which he studies and can therefore better take charge of his safety. Most parents are of the opinion that when Covid is spreading and students are most vulnerable, traveling less and going to a familiar school would be a better option rather than going to a distant school in most cases.
Factor 2: Students must religiously follow the guidelines
Medical experts are of the opinion that even a small lapse in adhering to Covid guidelines can lead to disaster. Homeschooling provides a controlled, familiar atmosphere and is likely to ensure strict implementation of these guidelines. In most cases, the students know each other and there is practically no mixing possible in the reception centres. At the same time, centers far from their schools could put them at risk of contracting the disease. Although the CBSE issued guidelines for the conduct of second-year exams a few days ago, there is no mention of why it moved the exam centers away from the home schools.
Factor 3: Offline home school exams will be less stressful for students
Many students haven’t taken a routine physics class in the last two years and are therefore not mentally ready to face the rigors of offline exams at a time when the next wave is knocking on the door. Many require a final score based on first term exam performance. Even if the CBSE organizes the second semester exams for a more comprehensive assessment of the learning process, the atmosphere of the reception center would be more comfortable and psychologically less taxing for the students.
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Factor 4: Invigilators from other schools can ensure impartial examinations
Many critics of the home school center claim that their teachers might be biased towards their students. But as in the first semester examinations, the centers of origin may have supervising teachers from other schools. This may address concerns about the fair conduct of the exam. This will protect the students from being exposed to an unfamiliar environment and at the same time the fairness of the proceedings can be ensured.
Factor 5: Damage control can be effective at homeschooling
As Covid cases rise in many schools, even among pupils who have been vaccinated, the obvious concern will be the possibility of an outbreak among children taking board exams. In such a situation, the conditions of the reception center will facilitate the segregation of students if an epidemic occurs in a certain center and, at the same time, the responsibility can also be assigned to the center. Containment would also be much easier.