New Delhi: The government on Wednesday cancelled the CBSE’s class 10 board exams and postponed its class 12 exams following an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, a decision that will affect over 21 lakh students across the country.
This is the first time that the Central Board of Secondary Education has completely cancelled the board exams conducted by it. Last year, the exams were partially cancelled in the wake of riots in northeast Delhi and COVID-19 cases.
The decision on Wednesday was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A total of 21.5 lakh students had registered for class 10 and 12 CBSE exams.
The CBSE will review the situation on June 1 to decide on the class 12 exam schedule while objective criteria will be decided for class 10 results.
The CICSE, which is the other prominent national board for school examinations, said it is reviewing the situation and will come up with a decision soon in this regard.
Several principals and educationists hailed the decision while others demanded that the criteria be decided in consultation with stakeholders.
Parents also expressed concerns about the delay in schedule saying either the board exams should be cancelled for class 12 or a schedule should be announced soon to ease the students’ anxiety.
“The board exams for class 12 to be held from May 4 to June 14 are hereby postponed. These exams will be held hereafter.
“The situation will be reviewed on June 1 by the board and details will be shared subsequently,” an official of the Ministry of Education (MoE) said.
A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations
“The board exams for class 10 are hereby cancelled. The results of the class 10 board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the board,” the official said..
Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him or her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams, the official added.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary, School and Higher Education Secretaries and other top officials attended the meeting.
India is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 positive cases in many states, with a few of them affected more than others. In this situation, schools have been shut down in 11 states.
Unlike state boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country.
“Looking to the present situation of the pandemic and school closures, and also taking into account the safety and well-being of the students, the crucial decisions have been taken, the MoE official said.
The demands for the cancellation of board exams were being raised from various quarters.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia had on Tuesday appealed to the Centre to cancel the exams, saying it can contribute to a large-scale spread of the coronavirus.
Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had urged Union Education Minister Pokhriyal to intervene and direct CBSE to reconsider its decision to go ahead with the board examinations in May despite the “massive and uncontrolled” rise in COVID-19 cases.
Priyanka Gandhi again demanded on Wednesday that class 12 exams be also cancelled saying it is unfair to keep the students under pressure till June.
The Shiv Sena had also written to the education ministry, requesting the government to develop a national consensus and possibly reschedule classes 10 and 12 CBSE and other board exams.
Over 2 lakh students had signed an online petition demanding cancellation of board exams and the hashtag “cancelboardexams” has also been trending on Twitter for a week.
The board exams are usually conducted in February-March. However, the board had decided to conduct them in May-June this year due to the pandemic situation.
States including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have already announced changes in plans for board exams.
Schools across the country were closed in March last year to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown.
Several states started reopening the schools partially from October last year, but physical classes are again being suspended because of the rise in coronavirus cases.
Last year, the board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later cancelled and the results were announced based on an alternative assessment scheme.
India reported a record single-day rise of over 1.84 lakh new coronavirus infections, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data on Wednesday. PTI