- PM Modi will meet with Education Minister and top officials at noon
- The Class 10 and 12 board exams will begin May 4
- Exams would be in the “offline-written mode”, the CBSE said in February
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting to discuss the Class 10 and 12 board exams due in May and demands to cancel them because of the massive Covid spike across the country.
PM Modi will meet with Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” and top officials later today.
The Class 10 and 12 board exams will begin May 4. The Class 10 exams will end on June 7 and Class 12, four days later. The exams would be in the “offline-written mode”, the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) said in February, at a time daily Covid cases in India had dropped to fewer than 15,000 a day.
But the count has been spiraling in the deadly second wave of infections and this morning, India recorded 1,84,372 new coronavirus infections in the highest single-day rise so far, with 1,027 deaths.
CBSE officials say they have made elaborate arrangements to ensure social distancing. The number of exam centers have been increased by 30 to 40 per cent. Students who may have missed the practical exams will get a second chance before June 11. Students will also be allowed to change their examination centers.
However, more and more people have been voicing concern about exam centres turning out to be Covid hotspots.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are among those who have urged the central government to cancel the exams and prevent millions of students from being exposed to infection.
Arvind Kejriwal, pointing to the alarming rise in virus cases in Delhi, said on Tuesday: “Six lakh students in the city will appear for board exams. One lakh teachers will be on duty. Conducting board exams can lead to largescale spread of coronavirus… alternative methods of assessment can be explored. Students can be promoted on basis of either online exams or internal assessment. The board exams should be cancelled.”
This morning, his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh asked the centre to defer the exams, flagging the second surge in many states.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi urged the government to consult with all stakeholders before making “sweeping” decisions.
“In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting #CBSE exams must be reconsidered. All stakeholders must be consulted before making sweeping decisions. On how many counts does (the government) intend to play with the future of India’s youth,” posted Mr Gandhi.
His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said it would be “downright irresponsible” of boards like the CBSE to force students to sit for the exams in the circumstances. “Board exams should either be cancelled, rescheduled or arranged in a manner that does not require the physical presence of children at crowded exam centres,” she wrote last week.
A body of parents has also written to PM Modi requesting that students be assessed internally instead of having to sit for exams physically.
The India Wide Parents Association pointed out in their letter that teachers and students had not been vaccinated yet and there was a higher chance of infection among them.
Recently, over a lakh students signed petitions urging the government to either cancel board exams or conduct them online.