Cancel pending CBSE board exams, Manish Sisodia writes to HRD minister
Sisodia said that it will be extremely difficult to conduct exams in Delhi due to the rising Covid-19 positive cases on a daily basis.
Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday wrote to union Human Resources Development (HRD) minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ requesting him to cancel the plan of conducting the remaining CBSE board exams for Class 10 and 12 — slated to take place in July — owing to surge of Covid-19 in the city and instead promote all students based on their internal assessment records.
Earlier on April 28, Sisodia had made a similar request with the HRD minister during a virtual meeting. However, the ministry on May 8 had announced that it will conduct the pending 29 papers of Class 10 and 12 between July 1 and July 15.
In his letter addressed to Pokhriyal, Sisodia on Monday said, “I am writing to draw your attention towards my concern regarding the plan of CBSE to conduct the remaining exams of class 10 and 12 in July. I hope you would agree with me that the board exams, particularly those of class 12 are high stake exams for children. Hence, subjecting them to take this exam in such an uncertain and anxiety-prone situation would not be fair to them.”
Sisodia said that it will be extremely difficult to conduct exams in Delhi due to the rising Covid-19 positive cases on a daily basis. “During the last one week, the daily number of Covid-19 positive cases has been rising and the total number of confirmed cases stands at 44, 688 (as of June 16). This is likely to rise to 5.5 lakh by July 31. In such a situation, if a candidate or someone in the family tests positive, he or she will have to skip the exam causing further distress,” he said in the letter.
The education minister said that there are 242 containment zones in the capital presently and the number will rise in future. “As per the current CBSE plan, a school in these zones will not be used as an exam centre but there is no clarity on how children from these zones will come out to take their exams,” he said.
Mentioning that as many as 251 government schools in Delhi are currently being used as dry ration distribution centres, 33 schools have been converted into hunger relief centres, 39 as shelter homes, 10 as migrant camps and another 10 as quarantine centres, Sisodia said, “These schools will not be in a position of conducting exams from July 1, 2020.”
He said that the Delhi government is planning to use auditoriums in nearly 242 schools to set up beds for Covid-19 patients to meet the requirement of additional beds, which is estimated to shoot up to around 80,000 by the end of July.
“Conducting exams in the same building where there are hundreds of Covid-19 patients will be a serious risk. In such a situation, using school buildings between July 1 and July 15 and ensuring that all eligible students take their exams may be extremely difficult.”
“Therefore, I once again request you to remove any further uncertainty and declare that exams for 29 subjects proposed to be conducted in July will not be conducted at all. For the results in these subjects, the CBSE may rely upon the previous school-based internal assessments which include project work, periodic tests, term exams, etc,” he said.
The maximum number of pending papers are in north-east Delhi, where exams were curtailed due to the communal riots in the last week of February. Exams for the entire country were postponed on March 19, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the exams for subjects of Class 12 will be held across the country, the exams for class 10 will be held only in north-east Delhi.
Principals of both government and private schools backed Sisodia’s demand. AK Jha, Principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed School in Rohini, said, “It’s going to be really difficult to conduct exams amid the pandemic while maintaining social distance. It will not only be dangerous for students but also for the teachers.They will have to collect question papers from bank, distribute among students and then collect it and pack them. There will be a lot of human contact. The students should be promoted based on practicals, since it’s taken in presence of externals appointed by the CBSE.”
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu School, agreed. “Although schools are preparing for the exams but it will be very difficult to conduct exams amid the pandemic. The government should take the decision considering the safety and security of the students,” she said.