March * School Year * Exams and Board Exams * OTBA – CBSE

March - School Year - Exams and Board ExamsIn March, just two months after celebrating the New Year and when the climate is a little warm and nice, what awaits our dear students in India? March is a month where students were earlier pressurized to write board exams. These board exams were usually dominated by the dictates of superificality, corruption and rote learning. The same situation still carries on in many schools in India. However, there is hope with education reforms which are slowly falling into place. The true essence of learning was usually lost, and it left most idealistic and passionate students a little perturbed and sometimes quite disturbed. Movies like “The Three Idiots” are a humorous and intriguing portrayal of what the education system was and sadly still is in some schools.

March * School Year * Exams and Board Exams * OTBA – CBSE

Idealistic and passionate members of NCERT and the CBSE board have tried to introduce educational reforms. This is with the aim of making learning more joyful, thoughtful, brave and decent. Are there enough so-called headmasters, headmistresses and principals as well as brave and aware principals and teachers who are also truly attempting to bring about humane and liberating educational reforms? Of course, this also includes the parent and student community. The CBSE board has even introduced open text based-type of assessments for classes 9 and 11. Open text-based assessments (OTBA) lays more emphasis on questions which encourage inquiry, thoughtfulness, in-depth study, problem-solving and originality.  For example, for class 9, one of the topics with case study is “Handling Drought in our Country.”  One of the case study examples is the village of Ralegan Siddi in Maharashtra which was transformed into a green area with adequate water.  More than 20 years earlier, Ralegan Siddi was in an impoverished and deplorable state with drought and famine-like conditions.  Anna Hazare, India’s inspiring social and anti-corruption activist, helped transform the village to livable and humane conditions after he retired from the army.  Canals to conserve water were dug and trees were planted and other steps taken to curb drought-like conditions.  The whole village underwent a wonderful revival.  One of the sample questions for the OTBA for this topic is “What steps can be taken by communities to curb drought-like conditions?”  For such OTBA questions, students can provide examples from the case study. They should also be encouraged to answer such questions in a thoughtful, original and wholesome manner after deep study and discussion. Doing small field studies and projects will also help students to answer such questions with real-life experiences and will also prepare them to bring about a more just, humane and sustainable society.

Well, with the exams and board exams beginning this March in India, let us hope and pray that students are guided to write exams with noble and humanistic principles in mind and truly pass with flying colours.

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