The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is prepared to hold the remaining board exams approximately 10 days after the day the nationwide lockdown ends, state education ministers were told in a meeting with the HRD minister on Tuesday, even as some of them suggested that Class 10 and 12 students be promoted based on internal assessment.
The minister also asked state governments to start evaluating their board exam answer scripts and assist the CBSE in doing the same.
According to ministry sources, the Centre-run school board is planning to deliver the answer sheets to examiners at home and, hence, needs the state administration’s cooperation.
The CBSE had announced last month that it would conduct exams for only 29 of the 41 pending papers of Classes 10 and 12, which were suspended once the number of reported COVID-19 cases started increasing. The board stopped the evaluation of answer scripts on March 18. It needs one-and-a-half months to evaluate more than 1 crore answer sheets.
Delhi, represented by its Education Minister Manish Sisodia, was among the states that suggested that students of Classes 10 and 12 be promoted based on their school assessment. All government schools in Delhi are affiliated to CBSE.
“Due to the need of social distancing, it will not be feasible to conduct remaining exams for Class 10 and 12 students even in May-June. Having exam thereafter will delay the next academic cycle heavily,” Sisodia said in a press statement.
“In these uncertain times, I don’t know if we would be able to conduct examinations again, so on the basis of some formula like internal assessments, papers already conducted, etc, students of Classes 10 and 12 too should be evaluated. This will help us not waste our students’ time,” he said.
Punjab Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said in the meeting that the state was thinking on the lines of promoting Class 10 students on their performance in the pre-board exams conducted by their respective schools. This, Singla told The Indian Express, is a suggestion of the expert committee set up by the state government.
Given the loss in teaching time, Assam requested the HRD Ministry that government school teachers should not be deployed on census duty once the lockdown ends. The state was told that permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs would have to be sought.
In the meeting, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal announced that, as a one-time measure, mid-day meal (MDM) or its equivalent Food Security Allowance would be provided to students even during summer vacations. This will cost the Union government an additional Rs 950 crore.
On online learning, many states informed the HRD minister that 60-70 per cent students are able to access such classes. While some states requested for a live broadcast of classes on Doordarshan and AIR FM, Punjab suggested that students be given free internet data for a limited time.
Most states, including Chhattisgarh, suggested that the decision to reopen schools should be left to the state governments.
Some states also expressed concerns over their students being stuck in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in other states. These students had moved to a JNV outside their state under the migration scheme and haven’t been able to return home after the lockdown was imposed. The states were told at the meeting that arrangements would be made to send these students home
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