New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education on Wednesday cancelled the Class 10 exams and postponed the Class 12 exams in view of the massive surge in Covid-19 cases across India. This was decided at a meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank”, the principal secretary to the PM, the Cabinet Secretary, the school and higher education secretaries and other top officials were present.
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, that administers the ICSE (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) exams, is, however, yet to take a decision on when they are to be held.
The education minister said after the meeting that the CBSE exams for Class 12 that were to be held from May 4 to June 14 have been postponed. He said the situation would be reviewed on June 1 by the board and details would be shared subsequently. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations.
The minister said the results of the Class 10 exams, which now stand cancelled, will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the board. He said that any 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 exams.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister reiterated that the well-being of the students has to be the government’s top priority. He also said the Centre would keep in mind the best interests of students and ensure their health is taken care of and also that their academic interests are not harmed.
Noting that the pandemic was seeing a resurgence in many regions of the country, schools were already shut in 11 states. Many states, including Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have already postponed their board examinations. An education ministry statement said: “Unlike state boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country.”
A large number of students, academics and politicians were demanding the cancellation of the board exams due to the growing Covid-19 cases. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh wrote to the Centre seeking postponement of the board exams. Citing the rising cases, he said quite understandably, “the steady increase in Covid-19 cases in most states of the country has created a sense of great apprehension and anguish among students and parents alike regarding the board examinations for Classes 10 and 12”. He added: “In Punjab too, the state government is receiving requests from various quarters seeking postponement of the board examinations by the State board as well as by the CBSE and ICSE.”
On Tuesday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had urged the Centre to cancel the board exams in wake of the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital. Welcoming the Centre’s decision, he said it would provide great relief to students and their parents. “I am glad the exams have been cancelled /postponed. This is great relief for lakhs of students and their parents,” he tweeted.
Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also urged the minister to intervene and direct the CBSE to rethink its decision to go ahead with the board exams in May.