With no clarity yet on the dates of board examinations next year, several schools are already conducting pre-board exams in online mode to ensure that students are fully prepared in time.
While the Ministry of Education (MoE) is yet to take a call on the dates of board exams for class 10 and 12, it has already clarified that the exams will be in pen and paper mode only.
Schools in Delhi are restricting to online exams while those in Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida are also planning exams in blended mode as per easing of restrictions by respective state governments.
"The CBSE conducted the NEET and JEE exams in 2020 during the pandemic in offline mode. This strongly indicates that students of grade 10 and 12 should prepare themselves for an offline examination. We managed to conduct pre-board exams in online mode, keeping into consideration the safety and security of staff and students.
"However, that amount of practice is not enough for pupils, we are exploring adopting the offline mode of conducting exams as per the CBSE guidelines," said Priyanka Barara, Principal, MRG School, Rohini.
According to Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, the school has conducted online exams for pre-boards but is also planning to hold physical exams in January.
"Amidst the pandemic, we have been able to complete the academic syllabi for board classes and have conducted the first pre-board examination virtually as per the CBSE guidelines issued according to the paper pattern.
"We have conducted virtual sessions with students and parents and have ensured a fair exam. Our system has been designed to keep the exam fair for the invigilator and students," she said.
Upadhyaya said the question papers in PDF format are shared on MS platform and the students are given 3.5 hours to attempt the paper.
"After attempting the paper, the students are directed to scan and email the answer sheets to the respective teachers. However, the school certainly is planning to conduct the second pre-boards physically at school in January," she said.
Rashmi Biswal, principal, DAV Public School, Pushpanjali Vihar, said, "Most board exams are of 80 marks so we want to give students the practice of writing the whole exam and to make the experience simpler for them we have decided to divide each paper into two parts, so students can write and submit both parts in one day with an interval in between, or on two separate days."
"We were able to successfully conduct our first set of pre-board exams in online mode around the beginning of December. The upcoming pre-board exams are planned in the offline mode along with practical tests. We will be ensuring full safety guidelines related to distancing and hygiene, and would expect the same cooperation from students and teachers as well," said Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, Delhi Public School Indirapuram.
The Central Board of Secondary Education had earlier this month announced that board exams in 2021 will be conducted in written mode and not online.
Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. They were partially reopened in some states from October 15.
However, a few states have decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in the number of infections.
Board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later canceled, and results announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' had interacted with students live on December 10 and answered questions about various concerns regarding the conduct of upcoming board exams.
He will also be interacting with teachers on December 22, following which a decision on the exam schedule is expected.