The government on Wednesday postponed Class 12 exams and cancelled Class 10 exams by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a decision that will impact over 35 lakh students across the country at a time when authorities are trying to rein in a worrying spike in Covid-19 infections.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
For Class 12 students, it means the board exams that were to be held from May 4 to June 14 will happen later, after the situation eases. CBSE officials will carry out a stock-taking exercise on June 1. Details will be given subsequently and a “notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations”, according to the government.
For Class 10 students, there will be no CBSE board exams. They stand cancelled, though there is more to it.
HOW WILL CLASS 10 STUDENTS BE ASSESSED?
The government said the results of Class 10 “will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board”. This “criterion”, as mentioned in a CBSE press note, was not immediately known, but there are indications that it could be internal assessment. “A candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him/her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the note said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Every year over 30 lakh students appear for CBSE board exams. While 14 lakh students have registered for CBSE Class 12 exams, 21.5 lakh were to take the Class 10 board exams this year. CBSE Class 12 exam scores are used for college admissions. Hence, postponement of CBSE Class 12 exams could mean a delayed college admission cycle. This also means that this is the second year in a row that Covid-19 has disrupted the academic schedule, though most of the board exams were over last year when the pandemic gripped the country in mid-March. While announcing Wednesday’s move, the government said unlike state boards, CBSE has “an all-India character”, and “it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country”.
WHEN WAS THE DECISION TAKEN?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level review meeting at a time when 11 states have shut schools in view of a resurgence in cases. Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and other top officials attended the meeting. The PM stressed that the well-being of the students has to be the top priority, according to the government. He also said the Centre would keep in mind the best interests of the students and ensure that their health is taken care of at the same time their academic interests are not harmed.
Top sources told News18 that PM Modi said students had already suffered a lot during the pandemic, asking officials to do their best to help them. While some officials suggested postponement of Class 10 exams as well, the PM maintained that they should be cancelled due to the pandemic situation, according to the sources.