THE BOARDS The ICSE Boards – Do you remember being terrorised by these when you were growing up? I recall these times so clearly! I had fervently prayed & prayed for good marks and that elusive “First Class”. On the first day of the boards I remember cracking … I cried- I sobbed all the way to school! Gosh and that was for my favourite subject – English

Circa 2018 – My daughter reaches 9th Grade and so it begins. The portions, the pressure and the worrying. I have always prided myself on being a relatively stress-free parent when it comes to studies… but Helllloooo … the world won’t let you!

I was truly blessed to have my child in a school which did not pressurize students /parents, nor have undue expectations. In fact, I told them – let me know when you want me to start stressing – they never did.

Cut to 2020 – the Pre boards- a curtain call to the main act.

Everyone and I mean everyone from my household help to the well-meaning aunts would be like:

Oh Boards!

Oh Boards!!

Oh Boards!!

Oh, you’ve had it – next year are N’s exams!

Why I ask why are the boards made out to be this insurmountable Mount Everest? This uncrossable River Nile. I so wish if anything this lockdown teaches us to take a step back, breathe, let go and realize this is just one examination among many.

Well we trudged through the pre-boards as a pre cursor to the main act. And it was certainly not a breeze. Still – one box checked!

Moving forward to THE BOARDS! They came around alright. We started off amongst many good wishes, sleepless nights and prayers. So, THE BOARDS go on for a month … yeah yeah – Happy Days!

And the reports started trickling in – Corona Virus, Wuhan – OMG – Is this for real?

COVID-19- Countries? Yes, Countries on lockdown-people being quarantined (didn’t that just happen when you had the measles?)

And I sent prayers up to all the exam Gods – Please let these exams be over and done – we are almost there – just a few laps left. We can see the finish line!

However, that was NOT meant to be. With Four – yes just Four papers to go we received the ghastly news that THE BOARDS were postponed! Hells Bells! Egads! We were devastated!

Then we thought ok let the situation simmer down, everyone is overacting – It’s just media hype – in a few days all will be back to normal. Then reality set in.

But no SIRree – we had a lockdown and then another lockdown and we are languishing.

There are those students who need this crucial time to prepare for IIT-JEE’s, they will be preparing for NEET and are in a real Catch- 22 situation. They want to start a new chapter of their lives and the page is stuck- it’s just not turning.

It’s been A Month … Yup – A whole MONTH.

Our kids have been up the creek without a paddle. The ICSE board has always been lauded as a student friendly board. They have respected students’ choices since the 8th grade, yet they have now shown no empathy towards this batch.

The ICSE board whom I have always admired for its maturity and sanity is yet …. Yes, YET to announce any decision!! We are in limbo – hanging by a thread and prayer.

These children – the televenth they call themselves are a unique lot – they have not completed their tenth and cannot begin their eleventh. It is frustrating, irritating, depressing and annoying to say the very least.

What can THE BOARD do you ask? They have their hands tied the situation is such… Nooo Nay there are options – Heaven knows we have had enough time to weigh all the odds …

Here are some

  1. They can cancel the pending exams for all
  2. Or they can give them online- It’s doable- Everything is online!
  3. They can use the Pre-boards marks and grade all the students
  4. Issue a “pass” certificate for everyone and proceed on


But they need to do SOMETHING!

These children are teetering, they’re self-questioning. I cannot describe the angst I feel as a parent

A little break is always great, but this ambiguity is honestly been stretched way too long.

However, Hope floats and one holds on – really hoping we hear something soon.

Here is what two of my young friends have to say …

To me it’s frustrating because I don’t know whether to continue studying or not or feel guilty for not studying. It’s almost as stressful as studying for the boards itself because at least then we knew what to expect.-Nitya Kaimal

The way that the Council has been silent over the past one month about the exams is extremely sad and infuriating. The future of many children like me, hangs in the balance.This is not how the Council should have behaved with something so large.-Nikhil Agrawal


Images Source: Instagram memes