UPDATED: April 14, 2021 11:27 IST
Students and parents are pushing harder for the cancellations of the upcoming board exams for class 10 and 12 due to the sudden rise in the Covid-19 cases across the country while the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said it has not taken any decision yet in this regard.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, in support of the students, wrote to the central government regarding the cancellation of the exams saying the examination centres can become super spreaders and alternative methods for assessment need to be explored.
CBSE officials denied any change in plan “yet” and reiterated that the arrangements are being made to ensure social distancing by increasing examination centres by over 50%. The exams are scheduled to begin on May 4, which is less than a month from now.
“The exams cannot be cancelled, these are subjective exams which are crucial in nature and cannot be conducted online. The board is taking all necessary measures as per COVID-19 guidelines. The exam centres have been increased and all COVID protocols will be followed strictly,” said a senior board official.
While sources indicated that the board may consider postponing the exams if the situation worsens, the official, maintained, “there has been no decision yet”.
Re-conduct of exams for Covid-19 positive students
In an effort to help students amid the current pandemic situation, the board had earlier this month announced that if students fail to appear for ongoing practical exams after they or any family member testing positive, the schools will conduct re-tests for them at an appropriate time.
Though this sort of relaxation has been given to students for the CBSE practical exams 2021, no statement in this regard has been made for the theory examinations, which are set to begin in around 20 days across the country.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said that conducting the exam can contribute to the large scale spread of the virus. “Six lakh children in Delhi are going to write CBSE exams. Nearly one lakh teachers will be a part of it,” he said, as per PTI reports.
“These (the centres) can become major hotspots leading to large-scale spreading of the corona. Children’s lives and health are very important to us. I request the Centre to cancel the CBSE exams,” he said at a press conference.
“Several countries have done it, some states in India are doing it too. Some alternative methods could be thought of. Children can be promoted this time on the basis of either an online method or internal assessment. But the exams should be cancelled,” he added.
Opposition against board exams
Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s Education Minister, took to Twitter saying, “It is time that board exams be cancelled in view of increasing cases of coronavirus across the country. When whole year teaching-learning did not happen the old way, then why we are adamant about conducting the exams the old way?”
He further added, “If exams will not be cancelled then examination centres will turn into super spreaders.” Many other members of the opposition parties have spoken out against the conduction of the board exams amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also stood in support of the students and urged Union Education Minister Ramesh 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.
The Shiv Sena had also written to the education ministry, requesting the government to develop a national consensus and possibly reschedule Class 10 and 12 CBSE and other board exams.
#Cancelboardexams2021 trends on Twitter
Students have been infuriated over the conduction of the CBSE board exams 2021 and over 2 lakh candidates have signed an online petition demanding cancellation of board exams. The hashtags “cancelboardexams” has also been trending on Twitter for a week.
In view of the increasing Covid-19 cases and the health of the students appearing for the exams, states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab have already announced changes in plans for board exams.
Several states started reopening schools partially in October last year. After they were shut down in March 2020 due to the pandemic, but physical classes are again being suspended in view of the exponential 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 on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme. Many students are demanding a similar system this year.