CBSE Open Book Examination: Parents Voice Their Concerns

CBSE Open Book Examination: Parents Voice Their Concerns

Parents consider the CBSE’s proposal as an unnecessary experiment that will provide their children with an excuse to skip studies.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 08:13 PM IST
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Mumbai: Parents in Mumbai have expressed unhappiness with the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) latest decision to allow Open Book Examinations (OBE) for classes 9 to 12 from November this year in a test phase. They considered this experiment unnecessary.

What is OBE?

OBE enables students to refer to their notes or textbooks during examinations to answer questions. It doesn’t necessarily translate into students learning any less or simply copying during the examination. OBEs also require different question sets that are not just theoretical or require a memorised answer, unlike regular examinations.Rather, the OBE asks questions that require a student to assess their learning and critical thinking ability and delve deeper into the subject. OBEs also test students’ comprehension and analytical skills.

Parents unhappy with the decision

Dolly Vishwakarma, parent to a class 8 student who will be eligible from next year for OBE if the project takes off, expressed her concern saying, “I don’t think open book examinations are needed, given the fact that our children are already preparing for the traditional exams. This may hinder their capability to learn and will instead make them careless and lazy.”

Another parent, Sonal Tank, whose child is studying in class 10, said, “At least children are studying right now, if this is implemented, it will encourage children to avoid studying thinking that they will anyway ace the exam.” “I have to run behind my children now to study, and I am afraid after this, they will abandon studies completely,” Tank added.

Sadhguru hailed the move

However, Sadhguru (born, Jagadish Vasudev) hailed the CBSE’s move. “Traditional evaluation methods are only testing the students’ memory. In the age of machine learning, acquisition and processing of memory is better done by machines than human beings. The OBE is also an opportunity for examiners to step up the quality of who they are because this approach will fire the imagination of students—they will read and write more,” Sadhguru posted on X (formerly Twitter).

How will it be implemented?

The CBSE announced its OBE introduction plan on Thursday, Feb 22, stating that it will first host a pilot test in select schools this year in November. This will be done to gauge the reaction of all the stakeholders involved, including teachers, parents and students. The OBE will be taken for select subjects as well, spanning English, science and mathematics for lower classes and English, mathematics and biology for the higher classes. For this purpose, CBSE has asked for assistance from Delhi University which had previously held OBE.

Many of the students find these subjects to be particularly difficult, and these are also some of the subjects which require more critical thinking and implementation rather than theoretical knowledge.

However, OBE is not a new concept to be introduced in India, CBSE also tried experimenting with OBE in the year 2014 but it was later discontinued because the feedback wasn’t positive. It was found that it had limitations in fostering the required critical thinking ability that the answers required. The CBSE, however, plans to redeem itself this time by initiating a trial run, employing high-quality textbooks, and subsequent suggestions.

This plan is per the latest National Education Policy (2020) guidelines that want exams to be more student-friendly and cause no fear in the minds of the students.

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