Is CBSE hell bent on degrading the education levels in India?


I don’t know if many would agree with me, but to me the recent changes in the education system by the CBSE are all directed towards ensuring that students are at ease when it comes to getting by their schooling as easily as possible. Barring the implementation of grading system, none of the measures taken by CBSE seem to suggest any positives out of it.

CBSE Examinations

It all started with the Indian Government announcing that Class X examinations of the CBSE will be optional from the next academic year (2010-11) while the grading system will be introduced this year itself. Mr. Kapil Sibal, HR Minister, had been vying for changes to the education system for sometime, and this time he finally had his say.

The ministry has made the 10th board exam optional which is something I do not understand. First of all, who on earth is going to go out of their way to take the board exam when there is no real need to. The only catch is that those who do not give the 10th board will have to appear for 12th board from the same school.

As for the motive cited for this, a few which I compiled from sources were:

  • It will reduce the mental pressure on the young minds.
  • With so much hype around the 10th board exam, the tuition costs are very high. The move will help parents cut down on costs.

Now for the first point, what pressure is the ministry going to save the kids from? They will now be subjected to the same amount of pressure or even more when they appear for their 12th board. Now, without any prior experience of writing a standardized exam like the CBSE board, aren’t the kids more susceptible to failure in their 12th standard?

Now, there might be a fine line which I may be missing here, but to me there is no way the abolition of 10th board does any good for the future of the kids and helps improve the education standards.

Anyway, if that was not enough a according to a recent circular by the CBSE, the practice of declaring “Fail” will be discontinued.

Candidates, who had obtained grades E1 or E2, could improve their performance through five subsequent attempts.

For example, a candidate who appears in the board examination in March 2010 can appear in July 2010, March 2011, July 2011, March 2012 and July 2012 only in subjects in which he/she has got grade E1 or E1 till he/she gets qualifying grades (D and above) in all the subjects, excluding additional subject as per Scheme of Studies and becomes eligible for award of Qualifying Certificate," the circular stated.
It went on to add that a subject-wise percentile score or rank at the national level would be provided to schools on demand. Though students’ performance would be assessed using the conventional method of numerical marking, only subject-wise grades would be shown in the Statement of Subject-wise performance’ to be issued to all candidates. (TOI)

You got to be kidding me right !

5 attempts to improve the grades. Why not serve them the degree on a platter instead?

I do agree that education has gone highly competitive over the years and the pressure from parents might be a little too taxing on the young minds of young students. But, does it mean that the system makes it a no-brainer for them.

I am not saying that students will use the 5 attempts to clear the exam, but with 5 attempts available, any fool will be able to pass the exam. The whole value advantage of a CBSE exam is gone to the drain.

Except the Grading system which indeed is a welcome initiative to rate students, the whole CBSE revision of the education system looks doomed to me.

I believe that healthy competition and a certain level of hardship is required to the ensure that the students come out enlightened once they pass school. I am not sure if there is a better solution but abolishing the exams and making "No Fail" policy is definitely not a idea I can relate with.

Moreover, it will be interesting how this works out once the students apply for colleges and jobs. A CBSE 10th board mark sheet sure earned my candidature some brownie points in my time. With the whole exam gone, how will the the recruitment factor it out. How will the assessors assess the students and their marks..err..grading?

PS:: These views are not on account of my jealousy that I had to give the exams and my juniors will get out easy:) These thoughts are not biased and reflect my understanding of the new reforms.

I would love to know if anyone can explain the positives of the new reforms.

[This post has been written by Ankit Agarwal, an ERP Consultant by profession, a wannabe entrepreneur and stock market stalker by passion]

  1. […] There is a contradictory view expressed by another author who feels that CBSE is hell bent on degrading the education levels in India. So, now you can read both sides of the story and arrive at a conclusion as to whom do you like to […]

  2. Anjali Gupta says

    cbse education system really needs change……… for class 10th becoz student nt taking it seriously so please ma request to cbse chairmain to change this system in a valuable manner so students taking 10th serious nd study well nt only for pass.

  3. Abhinandh Ramasamy says

    evening hi

  4. pooja bomb says

    i am not at all satisfied from the present education system. it will definetely take away the presure from the students mind leaving them to do all non productive work.they are engaged in watchin tv playing games /videos on mobile and surfing on internet.This will restrict their physical activity and engage their brains in non qualitative work.The projects given in the school becomes the projects for parents and not for the students to increase their productivity.A child should be corrected and checked at lower age and levels when their grasping is sharper and not when he get used to make mistake due to lack of skills of their my opinion this system is an attempt to restrict the brains of indians.

  5. suresh kumar says

    in this connection i would like to cite the following
    Mr. kabil Sibal has brought the reforms without much home work. even now the officials of cbse are not able to clarify many things. i had written to cbse chairman so many quires but in vain. the main objective is to reduce the pressure of students. but instead of one board examination now they have 4 board exams.
    ie two in cl IX and two in cl X as the questions are send by the board. see the irony!

  6. nelvin AD says

    if the CBSE wants something radical they should do it ,not aim for a neither here neither there solution.The logic of abolishing the 10th standard exam due to situational relevance(vocation ed) is good but at the same time they need to abolish the 12 standard exam too and start vocational subject ie pre degree training from the 9th standard onwards.once students graduate after the 12th they will have a diploma for their field of interest and can join the industry and gain experience and knowledge of a career.later on they can pursue a masters/phd in the field of specialization…HENCE eliminating the whole bachelor degree system and replacing it by a masters degree or field experience.Time has changed and so has the values of degrees and experience..

  7. deepak says

    i am very afraid to cbse result sir/mam please tell me that cbse no fail system and date of cbse result

  8. manoj says

    hello all,
    as far as my personal view is concerned i think the govt is doing away with its primary job of making the education system more refined rather than making it a cake walk.with its recent announcement of doing away with the board exams and implementation of the grading system it is only going to mitigate the level of competition prevailing in the education system.the NO FAIL theory is only going to deteriorate the education standards as anyone chat hean get away without putting the required level of efforts
    consider the case of a below average student-if he/she knows prior that he//she is not going to fail will he put all his efforts-NO,,
    thus to sum it precisely its a boon for the below average students and bane for the studious chaps who put all their effort only to see a less deserving student getting d same grade as that of his/her.

  9. thanvy says

    hi, guys;
    i am thanvy
    to say i agree with ankith as well as vamsee too but my vote is for ankit
    he’s right in saying so
    a student will surely have to face the music once he reaches to 12 in cbse board exams without having his 10th board
    because if one feels regretted in 10 th having no board , he will surely do the same
    once he reaches 12
    and moreover as ankth said was true.
    if you have any objections please mail me .
    ([email protected])

  10. prabhneet says

    i think it is better to be board optional

  11. shebeeb says

    You missed one thing, if the student want to change the school, compulsorily he need to attend CBSE 12th exam. So no student will change their school and CBSE can earn more revenue. Definitely its a profit game.

  12. Sanjeev says

    I agree with Vamsee (Post #3). This change is a step in the right direction to reclaim the joys of childhood. We should be asking practising psychologists how many cases get referred to them of children having examination nightmares – I think it’s a serious psychological and emotional problem.

    Learning itself is getting radically redefined today – facts and data are available instantly. It’s higher skills like lateral thinking, creativity, language, social skills and decision making with less than perfect information that matter today. These are subjective in many cases and can’t be graded with any one standard.

    Going further, I would love to specifically see interpersonal skills, civics and society, and environmental awareness as core subjects expounded in creative, interactive ways, instead of just science, math and social studies.

    Education has changed from knowing more to developing an extensive skill-set, with knowledge being just one of many tools.

    I think if we continue on the path of rote learning we’ll surely make our young ones less confident, less useful and less prepared for life.

    As for competition, I wouldn’t be too worried: as Indians we will always be competitive as there’s going to be so many of us and we’re not disappearing anytime soon. I think moving away from the old system of education will free our kids to use our inherent competitiveness more meaningfully, and actually bring out the best talent we have to offer across the spectrum of human endeavour – sport, science, art, architecture, social organization, even governance.

    1. ridhima says

      being a 10th class stuident i think it is safe for me to say that the last thing that this system is doing is reducing stress. i mean we are allways overloaded with projects and home work and then we are also expected to prepare for the half e yearlys which accordind to our teachers is going to be more difficult than the previous board exams. there is just to much home work!!……………..and simply no time to go out and play or improve our skills.

  13. Ankit says

    @madhav the points u mentioned are interesting.Yes, the understanding of the subject has to be important.But, then can we do so at the cost of imbibing a feeling of competition among children from an early age.Moreover, if a carry forward approach is gonna be followed, imagine the kind of misery the student will have to go through.It would put the child under immense emotional stress when he/she finds his peers without any arrears or like.
    However, there is no one solution to all this.If the government wants to radically change the education system in India, a few reforms here and there wont do any good.The approach will have to factor in overall development of the children, not by making it easy for them to pass but by introducing reforms that lead to their overall development

  14. Neel Gupta says

    Actually, I shouldn’t worry too much. The changes are cosmetic. If all these reforms could have applied to the main examination, i.e., the class 12 school leaving one, then there may have been reason for controversy. What we have to debate is whether the 10 + 2 system is still relevant. Earlier schooling was an eleven year experience (till about the early 70s, if I’m not mistaken. The government bifurcated schooling into 10 + 2 (following the British model) thinking that students who aren’t going in for higher studies at university could stop formal education after Class 10 and go in for vocational courses or fields that don’t need a university education. This system for the last 30 years or so haven’t really worked because it was seen that very few children dropped school after 10 to do vocational course instead 11 & 12. So the relevance of this bifurcation doesn’t hold good anymore. In that respect, the class 10 examination has outlived its purpose. So do we revert to the old K – 11 system? What we could do is to introduce a K – 12 system because the quantum of knowledge has exponentially increased and would certainly justify a continuous 12 year secondary school experience. The grading system introduced in Classes 9 & 10 is largely cosmetic, because we all know that what really matters is your Class 12 final examination results. Any reform brought about in assessments or evaluation should be in this pre-tertiary areal. Lastly, no matter what the government says or does, it ultimately depends on the school leadership and the teachers to create the right kind of environment in schools. The government can pass any number of laws and decrees, but until and unless the mindset of educators changes nothing really will change the reality on the ground. You can brew any amount of new wine, but we continue to store it in old bottles. Cheers!

  15. Madhav Shivpuri says

    Passing an exam should be proof that you have understood the concepts and not just that you have a good memory until the exam is over. (Applying the concepts is not part of the education system so we will leave it out for now.).

    The radical concept that I want to mention is, if a child fails (does not perform upto expectation/ a pre-defined standard) then allow the child to carry it over to the next year.

    If subject A has to be understood before moving onto next grade to study more about that subject A, then make it contingent that the student clear exam for subject A from previous grade before taking exam for subject A in the current grade. That way you maintain continuity of exams and learning concepts without delaying the student’s progress nor subject him to parental or other pressures.

    What do other readers think?

  16. Ankit says

    @vamsi thanks for ur insights.Lemme try to answer them

    The logic is as simple as this::
    Why are we taught to learn cycling at an early age when there is a chance of failure.Why not at a stage when we become teens and can handle things well.It is about preparing ourselves for the next big step and doing it early or rather at the right time helps.
    If the analogy aint logical, even from an education perspective, how much can we leave for 12th.Moreover, if the student does not know what kinda pressure he has to face, how do we expect him to better equipped.Only when he/she has been subjected to something similar can we say that 12th shld be easy.

    However, i completely agree with the de-formalising benefits and moving towards a gurukul approach.But, then how many of those schools do we have.Without the infrastucture in place i doubt the so perceived notions l hold any water.With the government abolishing the whole “Fail” concept how will the students come to value the education whteva is imparted to them.It is as good as being assigned a job with no strings attached.”U do well-good, u fail-i l give u 5 more chances” .this sure does not build character.

    Thats what i think.The steps would have been better if the ministry would have introduced equivalent benchmarking standards or something similar.

    However, ur perspective is pretty good too.I am always game fr great discussions

  17. rajsekhar291 says

    I think that this system will definitely degrade the standard of CBSE .students will neglect the studies.and now a days competition is increasing for iit’s and aieee’s and they should be prepared.nice topic .

  18. Vamsee says

    I don’t really follow the logic w.r.t to saying that there will be pressure anyways in 12th. Yes, but kids at 12 level are *more* equipped to handle intense pressure. Plus, we all know how sad educational qualifications are at indicating future success. I don’t think de-emphasizing ‘formalized’ education is such a bad thing at all. It will give some breathing room for students and look at other fields like sports and arts. There is more to life than getting near-centum marks in an arbitrary set of rules and questions.

    Since it’s a given that universities themselves will become mostly redundant due to online education, and the emphasis will be learning at your own pace, why not get young minds ready for the future? Why do they all have to conform to a certain scale of expectations? It’s about time we treat education like Shantiniketan does – a process of discovery for the child, and also for the teacher.

    Kapil Sibal’s agenda might not be perfect, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

  19. Ankit says

    @prats thanks for dropping by.

    Exactly even though CBSE wasn as challenging as the ICSE but it was a kind of benchmarking standard.By removing the class X board, the CBSE has stepped on a dynamite.As if that wasn enough, the future generations will never know what “Failing in Exam” means.and the worst part is a lot of parents have welcomed the idea.Wonder if they want their children to be the average joes all their life

  20. Prats says

    I totally agree with you on this one. CBSE used to be a really balanced board, they could have done a lot better by tweaking with the curriculum. Optional Examinations for class X would degrade the quality of Indian Education drastically.

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