Updated: May 27, 2021 2:19:58 pm
In their feedback to the Education Ministry this week, as many as 32 states and Union Territories (UTs) have supported CBSE’s proposal to go ahead with the Class 12 Board examination, with only four — Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa, and Andaman & Nicobar — categorically opposing pen-and-paper examinations, The Indian Express has learned.
Of the 32 that have said yes to the exams, about 29 states and UTs have either indicated a preference for CBSE’s Option B or agreed to support the Centre’s decision on the matter. Only Rajasthan, Tripura, Telangana have indicated a preference for Option A, or the existing format.
CBSE had proposed two options to the Education Ministry for conducting the Class 12 Board examinations for 19 major subjects.
Under Option A, exams for the 19 major subjects will be held in the “existing format” at designated examination centres, while marks for minor subjects are to be calculated based on performance in major subjects. The three states that opted for this format are learned to have justified their choice on the ground that students may not be comfortable with last-minute changes in the examination format.
Under Option B, exams for major subjects will be conducted in the students’ own schools, instead of at designated centres, and each exam will be for a shorter duration of 90 minutes.
As first reported by The Indian Express on Wednesday, the Education Ministry, in the national consultation held on Sunday with all states, has suggested that it is leaning towards Option B or the truncated exam format.
By Wednesday, all states and UTs, except Odisha, had shared their feedback with the Union government.
Kerala General Education Secretary Mohammed Hanish told The Indian Express that the state has communicated its readiness to conduct the CBSE Board exam. “We haven’t taken any stand on the two options suggested by the CBSE Board. It was left to the Board to decide. Kerala has a track record of conducting state Board exams after ensuring social distancing and other Covid-19 protocol,” he said.
Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal said, “As the Union government has announced, we are also in favour of conducting Class 12 exams. We shall do it accordingly, as per instructions received from the Union government. We are completely ready to conduct the examinations”.
However, even among the 29 states that prefer Option B or have agreed to support the ministry’s decision, some have come up with riders. States such as Punjab, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Daman and Diu have suggested that the examination should be held only after all students and teachers are vaccinated.
While Kerala and Assam have also mentioned vaccination in their feedback, their support for holding Board examination doesn’t hinge on it. In their letter to the Education Ministry, Delhi and Maharashtra, too, emphasised the importance of vaccinating teachers and students.
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh have requested the Union government not to introduce too many changes in the pattern of the question paper.
While Uttarakhand, Assam and Uttar Pradesh are also okay with holding CBSE Board examinations, they have expressed concerns that holding exams in July may coincide with the monsoon.
The Education Ministry will collate the feedback and announce a decision on the Board examinations next week, by June 1.
The states shared the written feedback at the behest of the Union government, which first held a national consultation on the topic on Sunday. The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar and Women and Child Minister Smriti Irani.
In Sunday’s meeting, Pokhriyal had underlined the importance of the school-leaving examination, which was echoed by senior officers of the ministry.
While the minister insisted that students’ safety was the government’s top priority, he also emphasised the pitfalls of promoting students without “reliable assessment”. —With ENS inputs
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