Major decisions taken in school and higher education by regulatory bodies

New Delhi: The past week witnessed several major decisions on academic calendar, exams and results. The biggest of all was the postponement of NEET 2020 and JEE Main 2020, the engineering and medical entrance exams, to September. This decision came as a relief to many students appearing for the eligibility tests.

However, with educational institutions ordered shut even during the phased “unlocking” of the country during the COVID-19 situation, educational institutions, their regulators and government advisory bodies are now coming up with new schedules and new modes to continue the teaching-learning process. From reduction in the ICSE syllabus and declaration of board exam results to the redrawing of academic calendar in both higher and lower education, these were the most significant developments in education in the past week.

The Central Government postponed medical entrance exam NEET and engineering entrance exam JEE. The NEET 2020 will now be held on September 13, JEE Main 2020 between September 1 and 6, and JEE Advanced, on September 27. The decision to postpone the NEET and JEE was taken due to the rising cases of COVID-19. A panel was formed to decide on the feasibility of conducting the entrance tests in July.

Students all over the country had earlier signed online petitions and campaigned on Twitter demanding postponement. The exam conducting body, NTA has also re-opened the JEE Main application correction window till July 15.

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, or CISCE, has reduced the syllabi of Classes 10 and 12 of all major subjects by 25 percent for the next academic year. CISCE’s decision on the reduction of syllabi was made due to the “significant shortening of the academic year and loss of the instructional hours” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The council, however, has also said the “syllabus reduction has been done keeping in mind the linear progression across classes while ensuring that the core concepts related to the subject are retained”.

CISCE released an assessment scheme for evaluating the remaining papers of Class 10 and Class 12. The council had cancelled the remaining ICSE and ISC exams which were scheduled from July 1 to July 14. CISCE said that the internal assessment component will measure students’ proficiency in the subject and the average marks in best three subjects will act as a measure of their general academic abilities.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training, or NCERT, has developed a new alternative academic calendar for primary classes to continue the teaching-learning process during COVID-19. The calendar contains guidelines for teachers on the use of technology and social media tools. It aims to empower students, teachers, school principals and parents with the use of online teaching-learning resources to achieve the best possible learning outcomes. The calendar contains an eight-week study plan for different subjects of primary classes with activities, resources and links to different e-resources prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.