MHRD minister Prakash Javadekar
NEW DELHI: The government is set to announce the reintroduction of the Class 10 board exam for students affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India’s largest national school test-conducting body.

The announcement is likely to be made by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on October 25 and will be his first major decision after taking over as HRD minister in early July. The Class X boards are likely to be back from 2018.

Javadekar will also announce a new ‘no-detention’ policy wherein students will be automatically promoted till Class V. States will then devise their options till Class VIII but will need to provide an opportunity for a “re-test” for students who fail.

The CBSE Class 10 board examination was scrapped in 2010 and replaced with the current continuous and comprehensive evaluation+ that provides for tests and grading through the year as a means to reduce pressure on students.

Reasons for reintroduction of the Class X Board examinations include feedback from states and representative organisations of parents and teachers that doing away with the exam along with the no-detention policy was affecting academic standards, even though studies indicated that the number of drop-outs has reduced.

The board exam was seen — by those arguing for its retention — as a means of preparing students for the more important school-leaving Class XII tests.

The no-detention policy was felt to be reducing the authority of teachers and prompting schools to merely shuffle an under-performing student from one class to the next.

There were large number of government school students failing in class XI as evaluations became more demanding at the senior school level. These factors seem to have prompted the government to consider amending the decisions.

Touted as a Diwali gift in the HRD ministry, the decision will be made public after the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). State education ministers who are to attend the CABE meeting have been intimated about restoration of Class 10 board examination. Several of them have been saying that scrapping of class X board has not delivered the anticipated benefits.

As the formula for “no-detention” seems complex, “it is for states to decide if they want to detain a child in class 5, 6 or 7 or in all of these classes,” a source said. But a re-test will be made mandatory for students who fail from class VI to VIII. A CABE committee headed by Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani has also ruled in favour of removing the provision of “no-detention” and recommended re-tests. However, NCERT is opposed to removal of the “no-detention” policy.

While restoration of the class 10 board examination does not need a legislative intervention, a change in the no-detention policy does require an amendment in section 16 of the Right to Education Act.

The issue of “no-detention” was also considered by the Supreme Court, which had ruled in its favour. In the Society for Un-aided Private Schools of Rajasthan vs Union of India case, the SC had said holding back in a class or expulsion may lead to large number of dropouts, defeating the purpose of the act, which was to “strengthen the social fabric of democracy and to create a just and humane society”. The decisions were taken in a meeting on Wednesday.

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