Updated: April 14, 2021 3:22:51 pm
With parents, child rights bodies, state governments and the national opposition pushing for cancellation of offline CBSE board exams scheduled next month, the pressure is mounting on the Centre to reconsider the decision.
There is less than a month for the start of the offline board examinations — May 4 — and the this demand is being made has increased in the last week. On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the Centre to cancel these offline examinations, stating that the examination centres can become COVID hotspots.
“Around 6 lakh children will write these exams and 1 lakh teachers will be involved. These exams centres can become hotspots. The health and well being of children is very important. I appeal to CBSE with folded hands that the exams be cancelled. Some other method of evaluation can be thought of — online or internal assessment perhaps. But cancelling these exams is crucial. Many countries have also cancelled exams; some Indian states have done it too. These exams should be cancelled too,” he said.
On the same day, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights also raised the same demand. “There remains a lack of clarity about how the CBSE intends to handle cases of children whose relatives are infected. Similarly, how will the cases of those children be handled who (or their relatives) get infected during examination. This may lead to suppressing the information of the infection spread creating further problems and jeopardising our fight against the pandemic,” read a letter by chairperson Anurag Kundu.
In the meantime, The Indian Express has reported that the Education Ministry seems to be now open to reconsidering the dates for the exams, no changes in schedule have been decided. Up till now, CBSE officials have held a firm stance that the exam would take place on the scheduled dates, and format, with an increased number of exam centres. They have stated that the number of examination centres have been increased to around 7,500 from around 5,000 last year.
In Delhi, with all schools closed, the Board exam practicals being conducted in the city’s schools have also been suspended, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia asked schools to reschedule the pending exams to a later date.
A Delhi education department official also said that in the current scenario, the exams being conducted does not seem like a realistic possibility. “It has been an extremely difficult for students and the entire teaching-learning has been conducted through new alternate means. In this case, the rigid insistence on conducting the exams in the old way, and that too in the midst of the steepest rise in cases is hard to understand,” the official said.
Far before the political pressure to cancel or postpone the offline board examinations began, parents and students have been trending the demand on social media and sending petitions on it.
“The situation in India is getting worse day by day. When there were only a few cases in the country they cancelled the remaining board exams And now when the situation [is] getting worse the government organized offline boards exam. What about student safety? What about the students who [might] test positive during the offline boards exam?” read one such online online petition.
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