- CBSE has denied any changes in the plan as of now and stated that proper social distancing will be implemented by increasing exam centres by more than 50%.
- Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab have all announced changes to their board exam schedules.
- The board exams were postponed mid-way in March last year.
In the wake of the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases, the chorus for the cancellation of upcoming board exams for class 10th and 12th grew louder on Tuesday, despite the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) saying it has not made any decision in this regard.
The Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal have asked the Centre to cancel the CBSE exams, claiming that the examination centres could become super spreaders and that alternative assessment methods should be pursued.
Officials from the CBSE denied any changes in the plan as of now and stated that plans are being made to ensure social distancing by increasing examination centres by more than 50%. The exams are set to start on May 4th.
“The tests can’t be cancelled because they’re subjective and significant, and they can’t be done online. The board is following COVID-19 guidelines and taking all appropriate precautions. The number of exam centres has been increased, and all COVID protocols will be strictly followed, ” a senior board official said.
Although sources say that if the situation worsens, the board can consider postponing the exams, the official maintains that “no decision has been made yet.”
The board announced earlier this month that if students fail to show up for ongoing practical exams after they or a family member tests positive, the schools will re-test them at a later date.
The CBSE official also declined to comment on whether students would be granted the same relaxation in theory exams.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal claimed that administering the exam could lead to the virus widespread.
At a press conference, he said, “In Delhi, six lakh students will take CBSE exams. It will include nearly one lakh teachers. These (the centres) have the potential to become major hotspots, resulting in widespread corona spread. We place a high value on the lives and welfare of children. I request that the CBSE exams be cancelled by the Center.”
“Several countries have done so, and some Indian states are following it too. Alternative approaches may be considered. This is the period that children can be promoted based on an online system or an internal evaluation. The exams, on the other hand, should be cancelled “Added he.
Manish Sisodia, who is also the Minister of Education in Delhi, took to Twitter to say, “In light of the rising number of cases of coronavirus across the country, it is high time to cancel board exams. The whole year teaching and learning did not happen the old way then why are we stubborn on conducting exams the old way?”
“Examination centres will transform into super spreaders if exams are not cancelled,” he said.
Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi urged Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to intervene and order CBSE to reconsider its decision to hold board exams in May despite the “huge and uncontrollable” increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Shiv Sena also wrote to the education ministry, demanding that the government establish a national consensus and possibly reschedule CBSE and other board exams for Class 10 and 12.
Over 2 lakh students have signed an online petition calling for board exams to be cancelled, and the hashtag “cancelboardexams” has been trending on Twitter for the past week.
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab have all announced changes to their board exam schedules.
In March of last year, schools across the country were closed to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown.
Several states began partially reopening schools in October of last year, but physical classes have been suspended again due to the rapid increase in coronavirus cases.
The board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March last year. They were later cancelled, and the results were released using an alternative assessment scheme.