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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Doctors say yes to no exam policy, Times of India page 7

MUMBAI: Mental health professionals have given the CBSE board a thumbs up as its child-friendly examination policies have resulted in a drastic drop in stress levels. The CBSE has given students the choice of opting out of the Class X board exam and appearing for a school-based exam instead, a decision that saw an over 50% dip in the number of distress calls on the CBSE helpline since last year.

"Children get stressed during examinations, parents even more so. With no board exams, the stress on parents reduces and hence overall anxiety levels at home go down. Children have always appeared for examinations and will continue to do so in future, but without the pressure to perform they will be better equipped to deal with the situation,'' said psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria. She points out the extreme steps students have often resorted to at exam time, from absconding to trying to end their lives. She adds there have been instances when she has admitted parents to hospital as they were stressed about their children's examinations.

"Demystifying board exams is a must. The entire burden disappears and the absence of pressure enhances a child's emotional well-being. The drop in the number of calls on the CBSE helpline is a wake-up call for other boards,'' says Dr Harish Shetty, president of the Counsellor's Association of India. He, too, feels that the CBSE's decision to make the Class X exam optional will ease the pain that families go through around exam time.

Dr Maya B Kirpalani, consultant psychologist and family therapist, feels the CBSE board's move will especially benefit students who are emotionally frail and not strong enough to cope with a board exam. "The board's new policy will bring solace to students, who can now give the board exam at their own school, a familiar setting that will make exams less stressful,'' she said. She rued the fact that students have become a prisoner of their marks with society laying undue emphasis on marks alone.

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