The continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education is getting a positive response from the State as 90 per cent of the students in the 830-odd CBSE schools have opted out of the board examination.

The concerns raised by thousands of parents over CBSE Class X examinations have died down with the board making it clear that the newly introduced continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system will give equal status to those taking the board examination and those taking the internal examination conducted by the school. And from next year, there will be no board examination for Class X.

Despite the initial confusions and concerns, almost 90 per cent of the parents of CBSE students in Kerala have responded positively to the board's reforms. Ninety per cent of the students in 830-odd CBSE schools in Kerala have opted out of the Class X examination conducted by the board. Instead, they have opted for the internal examination conducted by their respective schools.

This figure, according to the CBSE, is unique to Kerala. Nationwide, 67 per cent of the CBSE students are not taking the Class X board exams. According to CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi, the CCE has turned out to be successful in its first year itself as most of the students have opted not to take the board examinations.

“This is a great sign of faith and confidence in the CBSE system by a vast majority of parents and students,” said K. Unnikrishnan, State president of the Confederation of Kerala Sahodaya Complexes. Board or no board, all students completing the six levels of CCE in Class X will get a certificate from the CBSE. The results of all students will be announced by the CBSE. And there will be no difference in the certificate between those taking the board exam and those taking the internal exam.

“The Class X board exam has already become irrelevant as it makes only the second summative assessment as part of the CCE,” Mr. Unnikrishnan said.

Irrelevant

Explaining the irrelevance of the board exam further, he said that a student appearing for Class X board exam would already have secured pass grade as 60 per cent of the marks are awarded in the formative and summative assessments internally done. The parents and students seem to be heaving a sigh of relief at the scrapping of the Class X board examination. Till now, Class X exam used to be a hurdle for students and parents alike — both academically and psychologically. “Class X exams used to be viewed as a turning point in a student's life. That perception has begun to disappear… but it will take some more time to completely change the mindset of parents,” said P. Ibrahim Kutty, father of a Class X student and P.T.A. president of M.E.S. Central School, Tirur.

According to Mr. Ibrahim Kutty, the mindset of most Kerala parents is centred on high marks and entrance examinations. “So it's natural that parents choose easier and safer routes for their children rather than take any risks or experiments for them,” he said.

Mr. Ibrahim Kutty said that the CBSE implemented its reforms including scrapping of Class X board exams after a lot of research. “Even though there is no board exam from next year, the rules and regulations of the CBSE will have to be strictly adhered to. And exam or no exam, our students always outshine their counterparts in the State stream,” he said.

But this has also given way to laxity among a section of parents and students. T.P.M. Ibrahim Khan, president of the CBSE School Managements Association, said he was worried about the initial response from the students to the CBSE reform.

“Personally, I'm worried. The students and parents have fallen into a relaxed mood with the scrapping of the Class X board exams. We can't afford this lack of seriousness,” said Mr. Khan.

Seriousness affected

According to him, a good number of students and parents are still to imbibe the right spirit of the CCE. The CBSE scrapped the Class X board exam to take the pressure off the students.

“But that was only a ‘positive pressure'. The relaxation brought in by the new system has affected not only the seriousness of the students but their studies as well,” Mr. Khan said.

As the CBSE intended, deflating the pressure or a bit of relaxation may be the immediate result of the new reforms.

“But we will have to wait and watch for the long-term results,” he said. Parents have some other kinds of worries now.

Some of them worry that the students who used to score excellent marks in certain subjects may not be able to sustain their excellence under the CCE system.

For example, a student who used to score 90-plus marks in a language subject may not score the same grade under the new system. Smarter students can outshine bookworms under CCE.

“Under CCE, to get overall excellence in a language subject, students will have to excel in areas like debate, role play, dramatics, essay writing, presentation skills, and so on. That means, they have to be strong in many areas. Mugging up will not help them any longer,” said K. Sadayakumar, principal of M.E.S. Central School, Tirur, and executive member of the Malabar Sahodaya Complexes.

That, according to him, is one of the attractive features of the new system.

Some parents, however, are of the opinion that the CCE should have been introduced in Class VIII or IX and continued to Class X. Teachers and students alike feel that this is just another step

towards making CBSE a more flexible education system. The entire system is working towards empowering learners. This is an extremely thoughtful initiative on the part of the CBSE, they said.

More than 80 per cent of CBSE school principals who attended a national meet of the Sahodaya School Complexes held at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) a couple of months ago said that they were happy about the CCE.

As part of continuing the reforms, the CBSE is considering the introduction of new courses in fields such as mass media, hospitality, design, fashion and travel and tourism for school students.

Range of options

According to Mr. Joshi, not all students need to study medicine or engineering. “There should be a range of options available to the child, and the choice should be based on individual tastes and aptitude.”

Little wonder there was a good response to a unique test named Students Global Aptitude Index (SGAI) conducted by the CBSE recently.