COVID-19: Students of classes 10, 12 want board exams canceled
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, over one lakh students of Classes 10 and 12 have signed petitions urging the government to either cancel board exams scheduled to be held in May or conduct them in online mode. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) have said COVID-19 guidelines will be followed during the exams.
Petition asks the education minister to look into the matter
The #cancelboardexams2021 has been trending on Twitter for the past two days. "The situation in India is getting worse every day. When there were a few cases in India, they canceled the 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," a petition on Change.org said.
Number of centers increased, staff to ensure adherence to guidelines
Practical exams are conducted in January and written exams begin in February and conclude in March. However, the exams were delayed and are scheduled to be held in May-June now. "The number of exam centers has been increased by 40-50 percent to ensure social distancing. The staff at centers is being sensitized to ensure guidelines are followed," a senior CBSE official said.
Re-tests in case students or their family members test positive
The board had last week announced that if any student fails to appear for ongoing practical exams in case the student or any family member tests positive, the schools will conduct re-tests for them at an appropriate time. The official, however, did not comment on whether the same relaxation will be given to students in theory exams as well.
Officials non-committal on whether dates will be changed
Similarly, Gerry Arathoon, the chief executive and secretary at CISCE, said the schedule for exams "will remain the same." Schools across the country were closed in March last year to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown. Several states started reopening the schools partially from October last year, but physical classes are being suspended because of the rise in coronavirus cases.
India has registered more than 1.29 crore COVID-19 cases
Last year, the board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later canceled and the results were announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme. Both the CBSE and CISCE had decided not to release a merit list last year. Meanwhile, India registered a record single-day spike of 1,26,789 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, pushing the tally to 1,29,28,574.