Call on Maha state board Class 12 exams this week: Minister

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(Eds: Updates with more quotes) Mumbai, Jun 2 (PTI) Maharashtra school education minister Varsha Gaikwad on Wednesday said a proposal has been sent to the disaster management authority regarding the state board exams for Class 12 students and a decision on the issue will be taken in a couple of days.

She said the issue was discussed at a meeting of the state cabinet here, a day after the Centre cancelled the CBSE Class 12 board exams citing the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the pandemic which has hit Maharashtra hard, Gaikwad said, students' health remains the top priority for the state government.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Gaikwad said, 'A proposal has been sent to the disaster management authority regarding the Class 12 state board examinations. The authority will hold a meeting and a decision will be out in a couple of days.' 'Our priority is health and safety of students. They are facing two challenges - curriculum and the pandemic,' she said.

'There is no change in the government's earlier stand on conducting state board exams for Class 12 students, Gaikwad said.

'However, we need to wait for an official announcement from the disaster management authority,' the minister added.

'It is an uncommon situation (a reference to pandemic) for the society. Hence, some uncommon decisions need to be taken, she said.

Gaikwad said decisions taken by other states regarding Class 12 exams were also discussed during the cabinet meeting.

'After the Union government cancelled the Class 12 (CBSE) exams, we (state school education department) apprised the cabinet about the issue.

'The decision of other states (regarding Class 12 exams) was also shared with the cabinet, Gaikwad said.

Asked about her earlier communication with the Union government regarding Maharashtra's stand on Class 12 exams, the minister said, 'The situation in the state was serious with rising number of COVID-19 cases.' 'The state has communicated its concerns to the Union government in this regard,' Gaikwad said.

There has not been enough vaccination to allow students to come out and attend schools or face exams, she said.

A lot of human resource is required to conduct examinations, Gaikwad said.

'It is not just about students and teachers. To conduct examinations, we need a lot of manpower for movement of papers, preparations at schools, distribution of exam papers, collection of answer-sheets and their assessment, among other things,' she said.

The examinations were slated in April and May as per an earlier plan, but the second wave of coronavirus disrupted the schedule.

Gaikwad said, The Class 12 exams were earlier scheduled to start from April 23, but the state postponed them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

'The state government, during a meeting on (conducting Class 12) CBSE exams (held last month), had put forward its say on the issue. Union minister Rajnath Singh and representatives from other states also attended the meet.

Later, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said there should be an understanding between the Union government and states over policy decisions, she said, apparently referring to Class 12 exams.

The Maharashtra government has already cancelled the Class 10 state board exams this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. PTI ND RSY RSY