Updated: June 2, 2021 10:08:26 am
CITING “UNCERTAIN conditions due to Covid and feedback obtained from various stakeholders”, the Central Government Tuesday announced the cancellation of this year’s CBSE Board examination for Class 12 students following a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The results will be compiled as per “a well-defined objective criteria”, the Government said. However, if a student wants to appear for the examination, the CBSE will provide an option once the situation becomes conducive.
CBSE Class 12 Board Exam LIVE Updates
The CBSE, sources said, will set up a committee to decide the alternative scheme for tabulating results. A student’s performance in internal school assessments, in all likelihood, will be a crucial part of the scheme. To keep inflation of marks in check, the Board may direct schools to ensure that marks awarded to their students are as per the school’s past performance in the Class 12 Board exams.
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Tuesday’s decision is also likely to influence the states, especially those ruled by the BJP.
Shortly after the announcement, Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar said that his state would follow the Government’s decision on CBSE. Uttarakhand Education Minister Arvind Pandey said a decision would be taken soon but sources said the state board examination will most likely be cancelled because “BJP-ruled states will follow the Prime Minister’s view”.
Opposition-ruled states such as Maharashtra and Rajasthan said they would decide the fate of their Class 12 Board examinations in the next few days. Rajasthan will take a call during a State Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
Sources said that during Tuesday’s meeting, the Prime Minister was briefed about the national consultation held on May 23 and states’ feedback about the two options proposed by the CBSE for conducting the school-leaving examination.
Under Option A, exams for 19 major subjects were to be held in the “existing format” at designated examination centres, and marks for minor subjects calculated on performance in major subjects.
Challenge for univs
Class 12 is a milestone exam in the life of a student, and the gateway to higher education. Given that different state boards compete with the CBSE and ISC, the challenge for universities will be to evolve a level playing field to screen candidates for admission.
Under Option B, exams for major subjects were to be conducted in the students’ own schools, instead of designated centres, with each exam having a shorter duration of 90 minutes.
On Tuesday, sources said, the Prime Minister was briefed about a third option that wasn’t discussed with the states — the possibility of scrapping the examination, given the fluidity of the situation and the health implication of 20 lakh students stepping out to appear for the examination.
“(The) PM said that the Covid situation is a dynamic situation across the country. While the numbers are coming down in the country and some states are managing the situation through effective micro-containment, some states have still opted for a lockdown,” the statement said.
“Students, parents and teachers are naturally worried about the health of the students in such a situation. The PM said that students should not be forced to appear for exams in such a stressful situation,” it said.
Tuesday’s move comes after 32 states and Union Territories supported the conduct of the Class 12 Board examination this year. Of these, 29 states and UTs either supported the curtailed format or agreed to support any decision taken by the Centre. Only four — Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa, and Andaman & Nicobar — categorically opposed pen-and-paper examinations.
In the national consultation held on May 23, School Education Secretary Anita Karwal had described the Class 12 exam as “cutting-edge” and told the states that the Centre was keen on going ahead even with a truncated format.
The Government is expected to inform the Supreme Court of its decision Thursday. On Monday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it would decide in the next two days whether or not to hold the Class XII board exams amid the pandemic.
The decision will have a cascading effect on admissions to higher education institutions. According to the Education Ministry’s estimate, about one crore students get admission in colleges and universities based on their performance in Board examinations.
“There is a substantial risk of inflation of marks by schools. Normalising the differences in results prepared by schools will be a big challenge for CBSE. And it remains to be seen if universities will consider these results for admission,” said a ministry official.
The higher education department of the Education Ministry will look into the admission process only after CBSE announces the “objective criteria” for evaluating Class 12 students. According to sources, the common entrance test proposed for all central universities in the new National Education Policy may get a fillip now.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar, and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani.
Education Minister Ramesh Pohkriyal couldn’t attend as he was admitted to AIIMS-Delhi Tuesday morning for post-Covid complications. Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare, School Education Secretary Anita Karwal, Principal Secretary to PM PK Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also attended the meeting.
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