In a recent interview with PTI, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced that students will now have the option of appearing for class 10 and 12 board exams twice a year, mirroring the format of the engineering entrance exam JEE. He emphasized that this new initiative aims to alleviate the stress faced by students due to the fear of a single opportunity.
Dharmendra Pradhan clarified, “The students will have the option of appearing for the exams twice a year just like the engineering entrance exam JEE. They can choose the best score… but it will be completely optional, no compulsion.” He highlighted that students often experience immense stress, fearing they might miss their chance or could have performed better. This change intends to reduce the pressure associated with a single opportunity.
The Ministry of Education’s ‘New Curriculum Framework’ (NCF), introduced in August, and paved the way for these changes. Pradhan mentioned receiving positive feedback from students about the prospect of biannual board exams. “I met students after the NCF was announced. They have appreciated this and are happy with the idea. We are trying that the exams are conducted twice a year from 2024 itself,” he stated.
Addressing the concerning rise in student suicides in Kota, Pradhan expressed deep concern, asserting, “It is a very sensitive issue. No lives should be lost… they are our children. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the students are stress-free.” He acknowledged the prevalence of ‘dummy schools’ and stressed the need for serious discussions on this matter.
Pradhan also shed light on the reconstitution of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). He stated, “The older version of CABE was very broad… demands of today’s education system are different. At a time when we are making a paradigm shift with the new National Education Policy, CABE also needs to be remodeled. At the end of the day, CABE will review what is being introduced now, be it a new curriculum, new credit framework, accreditation, or any other reform.”
On the international front, Pradhan revealed that two IITs—Delhi and Madras—are progressing in setting up their offshore campuses. Talks are also underway with several countries interested in collaboration. He mentioned that the Ministry of External Affairs is actively coordinating these efforts and exploring various options.
Regarding the objections raised by states like Karnataka and West Bengal against the National Education Policy (NEP), Pradhan expressed his perplexity, stating, “Their objections are not academic but political. I have still not been able to understand what their actual objection is about.” He emphasized the collaborative efforts of the education and skill development ministries to equip learners with the right skills for the 21st-century workplace.
Pradhan concluded by highlighting the synergy between education and skills, mentioning the establishment of skill hubs. “Today, there are close to 1,000 skill hubs with one lakh candidates enrolled in them. Going forward, we plan to set up 5,000 such centers,” he stated. He also mentioned the Academic Bank of Credits, which enables students’ mobility across Higher Education Institutions and facilitates the seamless integration of skills and experiences into a credit-based system.