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Union Govt Proposes New Regulator for ‘Uniformity’ in Board Examinations

The NCERT has held meetings with the representatives of state boards over the last few months.

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Education
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Edited By :Tejas Harad

The Union government is planning to come up with a "benchmark framework" to assess students at the secondary and higher secondary level to bring in "uniformity" across central and state boards, which currently follow different methods of evaluation, leading to a disparity in the scores that students get.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has held meetings with the representatives of state boards and State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) over the last few months to come to a common conclusion regarding the implementation of the plan which involves setting up a new assessment regulator.

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The proposed regulator, Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH), which will act as a part of the NCERT, will also be responsible for holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys, according to The Indian Express.

What Will the Framework Do?

The assessment framework will aim to put an end to the importance given to rote learning, as envisioned by the National Education Police (NEP) 2020. PARAKH, the proposed agency to implement this framework, is also a part of the NEP proposal.

Most states endorsed the NEP proposal to hold board examinations twice a year, including one to help students improve their scores. States also agreed to a proposal to offer two types of papers on mathematics – a standard exam and a higher level exam.

"It will help reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning. We also used the meetings as a sounding board on the NEP proposals to have two sets of question papers for most subjects – one with MCQs (multiple choice questions), and the other descriptive. The response was encouraging," a Ministry of Education official told The Indian Express.

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PARAKH Will Help School Boards Meet the Skill Requirements of the 21st Century: Union Government

The Union government invited bids to establish PARAKH earlier this month, saying that PARAKH will be "setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India, encouraging and helping school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century."

The ministry official said that PARAKH will help address the problem of students of some state boards being at a disadvantage during university admissions as compared to other students in the CBSE schools. It will implement "technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting" of tests at all levels of school education.

The government also floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) which spells out that PARAKH will undertake sample-based NAS, guide the State Achievement Surveys and assess achievements of learning outcomes in the country. If the plans work out, the NAS in 2024 will be conducted by PARAKH.

"Its (PARAKH) team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally. PARAKH will eventually become the national single-window source for all assessment related information and expertise, with a mandate to support learning assessment in all forms, both nationally and where applicable, internationally," says the EOI.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Telegraph India.)

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