The theme of the conference was ‘De-stressing Examination’. The theme is a significant part of the National Education Policy, 2019
The host of the event, the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) is one of the oldest and most prestigious accrediting agencies formed in 1917, recognized by the Federal Government of The United States of America. It is now one of the 3 accrediting divisions of Cognia (AdvancED), which is the largest accrediting agency in the world with over 40,000 accredited schools in 75 plus countries.
Inaugurated by Chief Guest, Professor Ved Prakash, former Chairman UGC, the event was focused on ‘De-Stressing Examination’. More than 100 representatives from across India, USA, Nepal and Bhutan participated in the conference. The delegates present at the conference were researchers, educators, policymakers and sector experts representing national and state boards of education. Discussions held among the participants aimed at creating robust strategies to make school examinations less stressful.
Chief Guest Professor Ved Prakash emphasised on creating a curriculum having a futuristic vision contributing directly to transforming our nation sustainably into a vibrant knowledge society. He said that apart from certifying students, education boards are responsible for preparing future-ready students. Students must be ready to face the unprecedented future and education boards need to abandon the age-old pattern of educating the youth of India.
The eminent speakers who addressed and enlightened the gathering with engaging insights about the theme of the event, ‘De-stressing Examination’ included Dr Kem Hussain, Senior Vice President, NWAC (Cognia), Dr Annette Bohling, Chief Certification Officer, NWAC (Cognia), Mrs Asano Sekhose, President COBSE and Chairman, Nagaland Board of School Education and Professor Siddharth Pandey, Chairman Organising Committee (IIT Mains 2020).
Dr Annette Bohling described the organisational structure of Cognia, the parent organisation of NWAC. She explained the process and the critical role of accreditation in higher education. Accreditation improves the quality of education as accredited institutions focus on the content (what the child is learning), professional practices (how teachers are teaching) and resources (inclusion of technology in education). She insisted on the fact that students must engage in learning while using technology. Dr Bohling addressed examination stress as a global phenomenon and said that ‘Examination of Learning’ must be shifted to ‘Examination for Learning’.
Furthermore, the prominent dignitaries who graced the occasion included:
Dr Ludwig Ludy van Broekhuizen, Vice President- Global Development, NWAC-Cognia
Shri Kantilal Dande(IAS), Secretary of AP Board of Intermediate Education
Dr G. Immanuel, Chairman of CISCE,
Dr Sanyam Bhardwaj, CBSE Controller of Examinations
Shri A.J.Shah (IAS), Chairman of Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board
Dr A. Ashok (IAS), Secretary of Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education
Dr Arvind C. Ranade from Vigyan Prasar
Mr Ankur Mittal, Asstt. Vice President, National Academic Depository, NSDL
and other renowned academies.
Dr Sanyam Bhardwaj, Controller of Examinations, CBSE gave a presentation on measures adopted by CBSE to modify the assessment and examination process to reduce stress. He said that the board members have considered the observation of students and teachers from across India to make the assessment process uniform. He also discussed various initiatives like conducting special exams for sportspersons and easing the re-checking process.
Dr Ludwig explained ELEOT- Effective Learning Environment Observation Tool, one of the exclusive mechanisms of Cognia that captures the efficacy of learning in the school environment, and how it can be applied by schools to improve learning practices and create a roadmap in disseminating quality education.
Mr Vineet Joshi, Director General of National Testing Agency (NTA) was also in attendance as a special guest of honour and emphasised on the criticality of uniform practices in the field of education, coordination among all the boards and NTA, and the vitality of appropriate verification of students at the registration stage of exams conducted by NTA.
NWAC has a Regional Office in India which supports schools in preparation for securing affiliation and also accredits schools to offer the American school-level program known as the NWAC American High School Program.