NEW DELHI: Keeping in view rising Covid cases and apprehensions expressed by students and school administrators, the Centre on Wednesday decided to cancel the Class 10 board exams and reschedule Class 12 boards with a decision to be taken on fresh dates on June 1.
The decisions were taken at a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Initial discussions considered rescheduling both Class 10 and 12 exams but the Prime Minister is understood to have remarked that students had already suffered considerable uncertainty and should be spared further travails to the extent possible. The meeting decided that the Class 10 board exams be scrapped with students unhappy with their results permitted to take the tests whenever they are held next.
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The Centre’s decision pertains to India’s largest board, CBSE, and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, a private board with a much less number of affiliated schools, will announce its plans in the next two days. It was felt that the Class 12 board exams have a significant bearing on higher education choices and so should not be scrapped right now. An official said the assessment formulae could impact students unevenly, and the effort would be to try and hold the exam at a later date.
According to CBSE officials, this is the first instance when the board has to scrap the Class 10 exams altogether. Last year, due to the riots in North-East Delhi and coronavirus infections, the exams were partially cancelled. A formula based on marks scored in the exams a student did take was used to calculate the final result.
This year, 21,50,761 candidates were scheduled to appear in the Class 10 exams, which is nearly 2.5 lakh more than 2020. A total of 14,30,243 candidates registered for the Class 12 exams, which is almost 2.2 lakh more than last year.
The meeting to review the examinations was attended by education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, the principal secretary to the PM, the cabinet secretary, school and higher education secretaries and other top officials.
With active Covid-19 cases crossing the 13-lakh mark, TOI had on Tuesday reported that the government was reviewing the Board exam schedule. In the meeting on Wednesday, it was decided that the board exams for Class 12, scheduled to be held from May 4 to June 14, will be rescheduled and a further review of the situation will be held on June 1 by the CBSE. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations.
The CBSE will prepare objective criteria for the results of Class 10. Any candidate who is not satisfied with his/her marks on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit for an exam as and when conditions are conducive to hold it.
Many school principals and educationists welcomed the decision, while others demanded that the criteria be decided in consultation with stakeholders. Parents also expressed concerns about the delay in schedule for Class 12, saying either board exams be cancelled or a schedule announced soon to ease students’ anxiety.
“It’s a judicious decision taken by the government keeping in mind the well-being and safety of our children, which is paramount,” said Sunita Tanwar, principal of DPS, Dwarka.
But for many students, the decision to postpone the Class 12 exams has raised fresh worries. Class 12 student Ashna Mehta, from R N Podar, Santa Cruz, Mumbai, said: “Only a 15-day prior notice will be given. As per earlier notified schedule, the exam was supposed to start in the month of May and we were preparing accordingly. So either the board immediately cancels the exam or gives us at least a month’s time before announcing the dates.”
Science students are also preparing for medical entrance tests and the delay in announcing the dates will have an impact on their preparation for NEET. Some have registered for foreign universities and the uncertainty will only add to the stress, some students felt. However, with the fear of exams becoming superspreader events, there was little choice in the matter, said an official.
The demands for cancellation of board exams were being raised from various quarters. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Tuesday appealed to the Centre to cancel the exams, saying it could contribute to a large-scale spread of the coronavirus. Over two lakh students had signed an online petition demanding cancellation of the exams and #cancelboardexams has also been trending on Twitter for a week.
Source :Google News