CBSE Class 12 board exams cancelled; PM says anxiety among students, parents, teachers must end

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New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) The government on Tuesday decided to cancel the CBSE Class 12 board exams amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic across the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that the decision has been taken in the interest of students and the anxiety among students, parents and teachers must be put to an end.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Modi in which it was decided that the CBSE will take steps to compile the results of Class 12 students as per a well-defined objective criteria in a time-bound manner.

'Government of India has decided to cancel the Class XII CBSE Board Exams. After extensive consultations, we have taken a decision that is student-friendly, one that safeguards the health as well as future of our youth,' the prime minister tweeted after the meeting.

While the alternative assessment criteria for the exams has not been finalised by the board yet, officials said, it is expected to be on similar lines as announced for Class 10 which took into account the performance of a student in various tests and exams through the year.

It was also decided in the meeting that in case some students desire to take the exams, such an option would be provided to them by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), as and when the situation becomes conducive.

This is the first time that the CBSE has completely cancelled the board exam conducted by it. Last year, exams were midway when a nationwide lockdown was announced in view of the COVID-19 outbreak and the remaining exams were cancelled later.

With the decision to cancel the exams coming amid high COVID-19 cases in several states and continuing health-related apprehensions about the future, Modi said the health and safety of students are of utmost importance, and there would be no compromise on this aspect.

Anxiety among students, parents and teachers must be put to an end, and students should not be forced to appear for exams in such a stressful situation, a government statement quoted the prime minister as saying.

Modi further asserted that all stakeholders need to show sensitivity for students as well as their parents and teachers.

In the review meeting, officials gave a detailed presentation on the wide and extensive consultation held so far and views received from all stakeholders, including by state governments.

'In view of the uncertain conditions due to COVID-19 and the feedback obtained from various stakeholders, it was decided that Class XII board exams would not be held this year,' the statement said.

Modi said at the meeting that COVID-19 has affected the academic calendar and the issue of board examinations has been causing immense anxiety among students, parents and teachers, which must be put to an end.

He said the COVID-19 situation is dynamic across the country, and that the number of cases is coming down with some states managing the situation through effective micro-containment, while some states have still opted for a lockdown.

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' tweeted, 'I wish all the students very best in their careers. I would like to reiterate safety and career of students is of paramount importance for Modi government'.

Nishank, was earlier in the day hospitalised at AIIMS due to post-Covid complications.

Students, parents and teachers are naturally worried about the health of students in such a situation, he noted, asserting that students should not be forced to appear for exams in such a stressful situation. Amid continuing demands for cancellation of exams by a large section of students and parents, the ministry had called a high-level meeting last Sunday to deliberate on the issue which was also attended by state education ministers and education secretaries.

The CBSE had proposed two options -- conducting regular exams for only major subjects at notified centres or holding shorter-duration exams at the school where a student is enrolled.

The proposed time-line for conducting the exams was between July 15 to August 26 and declaring the results in September. States were asked to submit detailed suggestions by May 25.

Majority states opted for the second option which included conducting 90 minutes exams for major subjects at students' home schools. Few states also insisted on vaccinating students before going ahead with the exams.

A group of students had also approached the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the exams. In a hearing on Monday, the government had told the apex court that The CBSE had on April 14 announced cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponement of Class 12 exams in view of the surge in coronavirus cases.

According to the evaluation criteria announced for class 10 students , while 20 marks for each subject will be for internal assessment as every year, 80 marks will be calculated on basis of the students' performance in various tests or exams throughout the year. PTI GJS/KR BJ GJS ANB ANB