The “optional” class 10 board exam is likely to become “mandatory” again.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) may set the questions for the Class 10 final exam for all its affiliated schools, reverting to a system that was in place till six years ago.
The Union human resource development minister will discuss the Class 10 board exam with the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest advisory body for the Centre and state governments on education, at a meeting on Tuesday.
“We have representation from a number of states and other representatives because the board exam is still optional in CBSE schools. A broad consensus on it already exists, but a final decision will be taken in the CABE meeting,” said Mahendra Nath Pandey, junior minister in the HRD ministry.
The CBSE, which runs more than 18,000 schools, offered in 2011 a choice to students to opt for the board examination or school assessment. Approximately 13,000 private schools across the country are affiliated to the board.
Many students preferred the second option for their class 10 finals as the general perception is that schools set easier questions for better overall results.
Making the board exam optional has been a subject of debate as the class 10 final is often considered the stepping stone to higher education. Every student had to sit for the class 10 board exam before the school-based system was introduced.
A little less than 1.5 million students registered for either the boards or school-based class 10 finals in 2016, of whom 1.4 million passed, CBSE data reveal.
The HRD ministry could also take up a debate over the no-detention policy , in which students up to class 8 are not detained in the same class even if they don’t do well.
“States are concerned over the quality and a decision is likely over this, too,” minister Pandey said.
The ministry might offer each state the option to decide on the no-detention policy.
A CABE sub-committee has been deliberating on this policy. The advisory board, comprising education ministers of all states and central ministers, will discuss the issue on October 25.