The Union government Wednesday ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and all higher education institutions to postpone ongoing examinations for 10 days given the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Following the order, CBSE postponed Board examinations scheduled from March 19 to March 31. This includes re-examination for students in Northeast Delhi affected by the recent riots. The Board will announce the new exam schedule by the end of the month after “re-assessment of the situation”.
The National Testing Agency (NTA), too, put JEE (Main), scheduled to be held on Apri 5, 7,8 and 9, on hold. “We will announce fresh dates soon,” NTA Chief Vineet Joshi told The Indian Express. JEE (Main) is the entrance examination for admission to National Institutes of Technology.
According to a senior officer in the HRD Ministry, the Wednesday order is binding on all higher education institutions, irrespective of whether they are run by private management, the Centre or state governments. “UGC will issue an order tomorrow (March 19) to this effect,” the officer said.
The HRD Ministry has requested the state governments also to reschedule the ongoing state board examinations for Class X and XII students. “For now, Uttar Pradesh has put all examinations on hold, on its own, till April 2. Other state governments will take a call on our request after approval from the authorities concerned,” the above officer added.
However, the ICSE and ISC Board examinations will go on as per schedule. Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive and Secretary of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) told The Indian Express, “We haven’t received any orders from the government yet. We have eight papers left for the Class XII students and six for the Class X students, which should finish by March 31 and 30, respectively. The Class 12 paper tomorrow (March 19) will be held.”
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Earlier in the day, CISCE had announced that all examiners would evaluate answer scripts from their respective homes. CBSE, meanwhile, has suspended evaluation work till March 31.
The HRD Ministry’s order comes in the wake of increasing cases of COVID-19 infection being reported from India. Till Wednesday, the total number of reported cases stood at 151. There have been two COVID-19 related deaths.
The government said the step was taken to ensure the “safety and security” of students appearing for the exams and their teachers and parents. Although CBSE had already issued detailed instructions on precautions to be taken, the government said “it is noted that during examinations, large number of parents/guardians accompany their wards”
“Since JEE Mains may require travel by examinees to different towns and the dates may clash with rescheduled CBSE and other Board exams therefore, JEE Mains should be rescheduled and the new date of JEE Mains will be announced on 31.03.2020…,” the ministry order states.
On Wednesday, the ministry also held a meeting with State Open Universities to plan for all higher education institutions to move classes online till they are closed.
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