Bad chapter: Haze over under-graduate courses
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New Delhi

A haze hangs over the under-graduate courses this year since no common criteria has been drawn up to assess the students in view of the cancellation of Class XII exams. Academics want the higher educational institutions to devise a new mechanism instead of the usual practice of the board marks.

Some universities have already gone ahead to grant admissions on basis of their own internal exam and not depend on tClass XII marks.

National boards such as CBSE and CISCE and several state boards have cancelled this year's Class XII exams and indications are that internal assessment of schools and marks in previous Class IX, X and XI could be considered. But there are many state boards that have not cancelled Class XII exams. A petition is pending in the Supreme Court to cancel these exams for the same reason for cancellation of the CBSE exams.

The Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education had allowed the Class XII students to collect question papers and answer sheets from exam centres between June 1 and 5 and write the answers at home. The Bihar board had earlier conducted the school-leaving exam in the traditional pen and paper mode.

The education ministry is contemplating holding a common entrance exam to select students at central universities. It wanted other universities and colleges also to use this common entrance exam, but there are not many takers. An experts' committee has suggested an equal weightage to the entrance score and the board marks.

Prof. C B Sharma, a former chairman of the National Institute of Open Schooling, said since state ministers may decide different criteria for state boards, it would vitiate the correlation between the student's merit and their board performance.

He advocates the creation of a national regulatory body for school education to set the national standard. Other educationalists suggest that each university should develop its own strategy to select the students, independent of the board performance to ensure the students of a particular board do not get undue advantage over others.

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