Following the decision by the Central Board of Secondary Education to postpone Class XII Board Exams and cancel the same for Class X, several states have also chosen to refrain from conducting exams for the said classes, keeping in mind the surge of Covid-19 infections in the country.
The Chief Minister of Odisha has ordered the suspension of the Odisha Board Exams on 15th April along with the mass promotion of Classes IX and XI students. The Odisha government had earlier promoted students of Classes I to VIII without offline exams. A similar decision has been taken by the Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh governments as well. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has declared the promotion of all but XII classes based on internal assessment, a decision that has also been reflected by the Haryana government.
On the other hand, the Karnataka and Meghalaya government have asserted that they will go forward with the exams as scheduled, whereas states like West Bengal are yet to decide on the next course of action. The CISCE and NIOS have also not taken any decisions regarding their respective Board exams.
Earlier, on the 12th of April, the Maharashtra government had announced the postponement of Class X and XII exams. The Himachal Pradesh government, along with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, had also postponed the respective state Board exams after CBSE’s announcement.
On the 14th of April, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, the Union Cabinet Minister for Education, had announced that keeping in mind the growing concerns over the rising number of Covid cases, the CBSE Board exams for Class XII, which were supposed to be held from 4th May to 14th June, are hereby postponed until further consideration. The Board will be reviewing the situation on the 1st of June, after which fresh dates for the exams are expected to be decided. The dates will be announced at least 15 days before the commencement of the exams.
At the same time, exams for Class X were declared cancelled, and the criterion on which results for the class will be based is yet to be announced by the Board. It has also been declared that students dissatisfied with the marks allocated to them on this basis, may be allowed to sit for the exams when the situation is conducive enough. The announcement was made after two crucial rounds of meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top members of the CBSE respectively and shall affect 20 lakh 10th graders and around 14 lakh, 12th graders.
In a time when the total number of positive cases has exceeded 1 crore 40 lakh, such decisions prioritizing students’ well-being have been largely welcomed by the parents, teachers’ and students’ community alike. But some questions have been raised on the transparency and fairness of the ‘aim criterion’ that is supposed to be developed by the CBSE. Students, especially of Class X, are also sceptical about their promotion to the next class, as several private institutions have already started online classes for the new session.
Among all this, the fact that owing to the ongoing pandemic, many meritorious students have also been unable to perform up to their full potential, deserves attention. Also, given the inconsistency in the dates for the exams over the country, the inter-state migration of students is likely to be adversely affected. Similarly, concerning the students who will choose to appear the Class X exams later on, due to their dissatisfaction with the marks already awarded to them according to the criterion prepared by the CBSE; will they get the chance to enrol in their desired colleges or higher secondary schools based on their fresh, and most probably better, marks? These and many other questions still await clarification from the CBSE. Amidst this growing confusion, it is the prime responsibility of the Board(s) to conduct an open Q&A session with students, teachers, and parents from all over the country where these questions can be answered.
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