6 states cancel Class 12 exams, others may follow after parleys
Taking a cue from the Centre, states such as Haryana, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh , Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Goa have decided to cancel Class 12 board examinations, government officials said. Many other states are expected to follow suit, but Bihar and Kerala, which have already held Class 12 exams in full or part, will work on the next steps, while Assam and Tripura are keen on holding the exams as soon as the second wave of the pandemic ebbs.
At a meeting on Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was decided to call off the Class 12 examinations conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in view of the raging Covid-19 pandemic. CBSE is expected to announce the module for evaluating students’ performance in the past academic year based on which results will be announced.
Reacting to this, Uttarakhand school education secretary R Meenakshi Sundaram said on Wednesday that her state has also decided to scrap the Class XII exams. “A formal order will be issued by the chief minister’s office on Thursday,” she said.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also announced the cancellation of the MP board exams. “A committee of ministers has been formed to take a decision on how to do evaluation of the grades of the students,” the Chouhan said. The MP government was in favour of conducting the exams, but changed its stand following the PM’s announcement.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Rajasthan education minister Govind Singh Dotasara said that board exams for Classes 10 and 12 have been cancelled over the concerns of the third wave.
Goa CM Pramod Sawant also tweeted: “After extensive consultations, it has been decided that the Class 12 Exams shall be cancelled as the health and safety of our students is of utmost priority.”
But Uttar Pradesh hasn’t taken a decision on this yet. It has 2.6 million registered candidates for the UP Board’s intermediate Class 12 exams, but deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said on Wednesday that a final call will be taken after a meeting with chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The UP board has already cancelled the Class 10 exam for which 3 million students had registered. “It will take two to three days to take any final decision on the UP Board intermediate Class 12 exams,” said Sharma who is also the minister for secondary education.
He said that decision would be based on reports from all district magistrates about the Covid-19 situation in their districts and added that cases in 66 districts have reduced and the situation is expected to improve further. Opposition parties like the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have been demanding the scrapping of the board exams.
Tamil Nadu also hasn’t made up its mind. Its school education minister, Anbil Mahesh Poyamozhi, said that chief minister MK Stalin has asked him to discuss with various experts and see what other states are doing before taking a final call.
The West Bengal government has formed a committee of experts to submit suggestions on conducting board examinations. This committee will submit a report within the next few days after which the state will take a decision. Last week,CM Mamata Banerjee had announced that while Class 12 exams would be held in July-end, Class 10 exams would be held in the second week of August in the schools where the students have studied, with the examination period curtailed by 50%.
The Himachal Pradesh government would likely take a decision on holding the exams in a cabinet meeting slated for June 5. Odisha, on the other hand, is still discussing if it should cancel the exams, according to school and mass education minister Sameer Ranjan Dash.
But the Assam government is firm about conducting both Class 10 and Class 12 board exams in the state as soon as the Covid-19 situation eases. Assam Higher Secondary Education Council has submitted a proposal to the education department, suggesting that students appear in only three of the five compulsory subjects for science, arts and commerce streams. “A decision on the proposal will be taken soon,” said an official requesting anonymity. Like Assam, the Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) is also keen on conducting examinations in select subjects, though the exam schedule is yet to be finalised. TBSE president Dr Bhabatosh Saha said for Class 10, there will be exams for English, mathematics, and science, but the subjects for Class 12 haven’t been decided yet.
Chhattisgarh has already started the Class 12 exams from June 1 in an “open-book” format where the students are allowed to collect the question papers from specified centres, take them home, and submit the answer scripts within five days. But no result date has been decided yet. Bihar conducted its Class 10 and 12 exams in February and is now planning to declare the results in June. Kerala also held its Class 12 exams in April and would soon announce the schedule for practical exams to be held by June-end, officials said, adding that the results are expected by July.