With fresh tensions surrounding the covid-19 spread taking the upward trajectory, students from grades 10 and 12 of the CBSE board are urging the government to cancel their final exams or organize online exams instead of offline ones.
Apart from writing to the government for the same, over 1 lakh students have signed petitions over the examinations scheduled for May.
Twitter was raging with the hashtag ‘cancelboardexams2021’ trending on its platform for the last 2 days.
Nevertheless, with no relief for the students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) denied making any changes to the schedule. They said enough precautions are being taken to ensure safety and the arrangements are in place to be followed during the May slated exams.
A senior official of CBSE was quoted saying, “Adequate arrangements are being made to ensure the students are safe and all COVID protocols are followed. The number of exam centres has been increased by 40-50 per cent to ensure social distancing. The staff at exam centres is being sensitised to ensure all guidelines are followed.”
Students have been expressing their worries over the schedule as they say the exams are being conducted at a time when the country is getting bombarded with thousands of new covid-19 cases each day. A petition registered on Change.org read, “The situation in India is getting worse day by day. When there were only a few cases in the country, they cancelled the remaining board exams and now when the cases are at a peak they are planning to open schools. We urge the education minister to look into this matter and cancel all examinations to be held this year as students are already under a lot of stress.”
Amongst the many students urging for the cause, one is a 10th grader named Divya Garg who is also giving her voice for postponing the exams for a month at the least. She says the government can review the situation a month later and come to a conclusion based on the number of cases then.
Another user on Twitter said, “The students have already faced a lot of problems till now in this pandemic. Classes were held online so the exams should also be held online or students should be promoted via internal assessment marks.”
Generally, CBSE theory exams begin in February to end in March while the practical ones precede them and start in January. Due to the pandemic, the exams got delayed and will now be conducted in May-June.
In its last week’s announcement, the education board had said if either the student or family member tests positive for covid-19 and fails to appear for the practical exam due to this reason, he is entitled to receive an alternate date and time for the re-test by the schools.
However, it wasn’t specified if the same would be applicable during the theory exams.
Speaking about the same, the chief executive and secretary at CISCE, Gerry Arathoon, said that the exam schedule “will remain the same” with no changes.
India shut all schools and educational institutions in March 2020 after the covid-19 outbreak wreaked havoc. Though many states reopened their schools in October 2020 following a 7-month gap filled with online classes, they have closed them again in view of the sudden increase in cases.
When a similar situation happened last year, the government had initially postponed the exams that had to be held in March. It later cancelled them with results declared on the basis of an alternate evaluation.
Hence, the CBSE and CISCE had jointly decided to not publish any merit list of students for 2020.
As per the Union Health Ministry’s updated data, India reported 1,26,789 new covid infections today, making it the record highest single-day spike since the virus set its foot in the country.