New Delhi, April 11: Anil Swaroop, Secretary HRD, in an exclusive talk with Zee Business’s Mehak Kasbekar, said the next CBSE exams will be held under a new system, which will be foolproof. He added, we are working towards including values and ethics in the existing education system. For that purpose, the new curriculum of NCERT may come up with an addition of value education in the formal education system.
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
Q: Let’s get right to the controversy, we have seen everything has settled and the board exams are going to take place on April 25th. The first question is, that why different decisions for Xth and XIIth exams were taken? Why was same consideration not taken for both at least when the leaks were there in both papers?
A: See, the implication of class Xth and XIIth examinations are different. Class Xth is more of an internal exam, where you self-evaluate and see. You don’t have to go for admission elsewhere like in case of Class XII. In class XII every mark matters. The difference of one mark leads to non-admission to a particular college that you want to go. So given the implication of class X and XII exams, we decided that we should hold the class XIIth exam again and class Xth should not be held.
For not holding the class Xth examinations there are other reasons also, the primary reason was the impact of class Xth examination, we evaluated it through some randomly selected copies, which were corrected and we found that the results of this year through this randomly selected copies was worse than last year. So, if this would have impacted it than would have improved a bit both in terms of children failing and children getting 90% more. There was the lesser number of 90 percent and more failures this year. So being that case, we come to a conclusion that by and large there has been no impact.
I would like to add, that this may not be a perfect decision. But keeping in mind the inconvenience that would have cost to 14lakh children would have to re-appear. We took the decision that it has no implication, there has been no impact and the inconvenience to the children based on three factors we decided not to hold the exams.
Q: You said that this decision was the perfect one. Were there any discussions on any other solutions, which was put on the board and was discarded? Maybe giving the passing marks to everybody.
A: Yes, we had a discussion on all those. But once the random sample study came to us, we decided that it is not really required by and large the marks will reflect what the students have done. So in that context, we said holding an examination will be disastrous.
Putting everybody in inconvenience looking at other options, we found they were not as good. So we measured each of them and came to this conclusion of not holding the exams.
Q: Everybody was saying that the CBSE chairperson should be removed as a fallout of the CBSE leaks. Of course, you explained in the public domain earlier in the decisions she took. But going ahead, how we are going to make sure that such leaks do not happen in the system at all.
A: This system had been working for three-four years but this is a wake-up call in the context that even this can be misused at some level. So, we are now committing ourselves to use technology to see how the technology could be used to make the system even more foolproof.
For this purpose, a committee under the chairmanship of ex-secretary HRD has been constituted. It will submit its report by May 31, 2018. But, parallelly we are also looking at various techniques that can be used to make the system foolproof.
Q: And this will be applicable to when, sir?
A: Next exams. All next year exams will be held under the new system. Smiling, it will be our endeavour to ensure that the students do not go through this agony from next year.
Q: Of course, in a system leaks can happen everywhere it’s not necessarily that is at a CBSE or top level, it also goes to school. Everybody has an access to it. One cannot ensure that each person adheres to ethical practices. How are we going to plug-in other than technology in terms of the teachers, etc? Is there anything in the system that is going to be put in the system?
A: No. The advantage of the electronic system is that we are able to track down much easier than in the physical system. In the electronic system, whoever messes with this process, you can get to know who has got into the system at what time and from where through the IP address. We should be in a better position to look at the problem if it arises.
Our hope is that there would not be any problem as the world will know that they will be caught in case they do it. But you can never give full assurance but it will be our endeavour to make the system foolproof.
Q: Everybody has spoken when the CBSE leaks happened. Could it have been handled swiftly? Could the media have been involved in a better way? Could they have been reached out from the government so that all the issues that we saw panning across the country would have probably have been solved?
A: You know, it was a very unusual situation and without any appropriate information it would have been a wrong step to come to the media. When you talk to the media, you should be aware of the thing that you are talking about. And to get to know that in the system, it took some time obviously on the hind side, someone can say that someone should have spoken ahead of it. But my view is that speaking prematurely without knowing the full facts would have been even worse. So, as soon as we took the decision in this regard to re-conduct the examination or not to re-conducting other exams, I personally came to the media and spoke to it.
Q: Sir, I would like to ask something with the student point of view. The Xth board exams especially, which is not taking place again. What would you like to say to the students as the paper was leaked and there might be questions about how good you feel about that how you have done?
A: My advice to students is that focus on what you are doing. You don’t become good or better because someone else has done good or bad. You are evaluating yourself. Just because someone else has done well, doesn’t make you bad. You are what you are, so focus on yourself. There is a whole life ahead and there will be many such situations where you will be compared with others but don’t go by comparison. Do good to yourself, improve yourself and you will succeed in the life.
Q: The last question is on the values and ethics that we are seeing and there is a big question mark on the educational system. Currently, we saw the Pradyuman murder case, there have been other violent cases and it is just increasing across India. What is the government looking at to contain it?
A: It is a very serious issue and we are conscious of the fact that we have to somehow bring in the value education in the current system. We had a couple of days of workshop, intensive interaction with the experts. We are working towards it and hopefully, we will be able to get these aspects in the new curriculum of the NCERT, where value education becomes a part of formal education.
(Exclusive interview by Mehak Kasbekar)