Revised CBSE Curriculum for the Academic Year 2020-21

Mr. Ravi Rajasekhar
Dec 27, 2021
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Education in UAE During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The advent of Covid-19 across the globe resulted in an enormous loss in classroom teaching due to the closing of all schools, as well as lagging in the academic year of the students.

The United Arab Emirates implemented distance learning as a substitute arrangement till the hopeful end of the pandemic, for all CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi along with other public and private educational institutions.

It launched online learning platforms, the latest guidelines and instructions for parents, teachers and students to follow for a lucrative learning process amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To make learning at home simpler for not only students, but also their families, the UAE provided free satellite broadband services in the areas that lacked connectivity, and free home internet to families.

CBSE’s Decision to Slash the Syllabus in Indian CBSE Schools in Abu Dhabi

However, the quality of education could not achieve the desired levels, due to the consistent tension and casualties caused by the virus.

In record with that, the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) has taken a global step towards the prevailing global pandemic affecting the education of children worldwide.

CBSE has decided to revise the syllabus for classes IX-XII for the session of 2020-21, rationalising the curriculum for all Indian CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi, to just its core concepts, based on what was taught in the previous academic session, and reducing the length of the curriculum by 30%. The syllabus is to be split equally across the two terms of the academic year.

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The Revised CBSE Curriculum for Indian Schools in Abu Dhabi

The Academics Director of CBSE- Joseph Emmanuel wrote in one of the circulars addressed to all heads of schools affiliated to CBSE, that the last session “necessitated deliberations over alternative ways to look at the learning objectives as well as the conduct of the Board Examinations for the academic session 2021-22 in case the situation remains unfeasible”

In reply to this, CBSE’s academic solution for the students of class IX-XII is to hold one board exam consisting of MCQ (multiple choice questions) for all subjects, in their first term, and long subjective papers in the second term. In addition to the exams, students will be attempting continuous evaluation throughout the academic session, through research projects, unit tests and other activities to enhance learning.

The first set of board exams will be held in November-December 2021. Each exam will be of a duration of 90 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes).

The CBSE board plans to send the question papers and marking schemes to all CBSE schools, including the Indian CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi in due time. The exams will be conducted with external examiners, who will be sending the results to CBSE after the exams.

The second set of board exams will be held in March-April 2022. Various exam centres will be allotted to all students of the CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi.

As mentioned, this set of exams will be subjective and long question-answer papers in different formats, with a fixed duration of 2 hours to write.

However, it was mentioned by CBSE that the term for examinations can be changed from subjective to objective MCQ type exams if the pandemic continues to affect the learning of the children, and the situation is still out of hand.

The results from both the board exams will be used to form a concluded result and an overall score for each student.

Internal Assessments and Practicals

CBSE aims to introduce “a more credible system of continuous evaluation throughout the session, like the NEP (National Education Policy)”.

The internal assessments for students in classes IX and X will consist of three routine tests to ensure enriched learning, portfolio building and experience in practical work and gaining practical knowledge of the subject.

The assessments will include practicals, speaking and listening tests and other projects and activities.

The total marks for all internal assessments are 20 and are equally divided into 4 sections-

Periodic Test (5 Marks)

3 periodic tests are to be conducted for each subject. Out of the 3 tests, an average of 2 tests will be taken, and be included in the final result. These tests carry a total of 5 marks in the concluded 20-mark internal assessment.

Multiple Assessment (5 Marks)

Multiple Assessments include vivas, group and individual projects, map work, graphs, activities and assignments. The CBSE private schools in Abu Dhabi have been given the freedom to conduct these assessments in modes convenient to them and their students, according to the subject.

Portfolio (5 Marks)

A portfolio is to hold all the work that is done by the student in the session. It will consist of the projects, assignment submissions, progress, scores and achievements of the individual.

The student will be assessed for his portfolio on the following basis:

1. Neatness, visual appearance and appeal, creativity at work are important for the portfolio.

2. Completion of the work under specified guidelines as per the curriculum.

3. The depth of research, learning, and enhancement of the knowledge will be taken into consideration while evaluating the portfolio.

4. Complete submissions under these guidelines are key.

Subject Enrichment Projects (5 Marks)

These subject-specific activities and projects help in evaluating the practical knowledge, and language skills of the students. These activities vary according to the subject.

Projects, listening and speaking tests, vocabulary enhancement activities and practical work are a few common ways to evaluate the subjects per subject.

For students of classes XI and XII, the continuous internal assessments will be a combination of the end of topic assessments, unit tests, activities and practicals.

All Indian CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi will be creating individual student profiles to record and track separate performances of the students throughout the session.

The Result Scheme

Although the score from both the first and second term exams will make the concluding result, CBSE has come up with various options/schemes to formulate results according to the Covid-19 situation.

1. If the pandemic situation allows the term-end exams to be held at the allotted centres, and offline, the theory marks can be equally divided between both exams.

2. Due to the pandemic, if the schools are closed in November and December, at the time of the first term exams, they are to be held online. Students can write the exams online, or submit hand-written sheets via school portals that will be provided.

However, if the Term II exams are held at the centres, then the first set of exams will be given less weightage in the final result as compared to the second set of exams.

3. If the first set of exams are held from the examination centres, but the second set is held online due to the prevailing pandemic, the final result will be a combination of the score in Term-I MCQ exams and the internal assessments that the students have been submitting from the start of the session.

4. However, if neither set of exams is held at the centres, the results are to be concluded using the performance of students in the internal assessments and practical exams, as well as some percentage of the theory marks of both term exams that the students will sit for online from their homes. This is so to maintain the validity and reliability of the assessments and create an honest score for each student.


Educators from all Indian CBSE schools in Abu Dhabi praise this new curriculum since the pandemic is hugely affecting the education cycle for all age groups adversely, and this system helps students and their parents to concentrate on education while combating the situation.

The divided syllabus provides flexibility and an in-depth, relaxed understanding of concepts during the existing and enduringly foreseen online mode of education.

The revised curriculum is a planned road map ensuring enhanced learning and stress-free education that is made to benefit the teachers and the students.

Mr. Ravi Rajasekhar

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