The Delhi government is not in favour of the CBSE exploring options to conduct the Class 12 board examinations and going ahead with the process without vaccinating the students will prove to be a big mistake, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Sunday. He said this during a high-level meeting called by the Ministry of Education to decide the fate of the pending Class 12 board exams and the subsequent entrance exams, which were postponed in view of the second wave of COVID-19.
"Two options were discussed at the meeting. The first was conducting the exams in the present format for the major subjects and marking for the rest of the subjects on the basis of the performance in these papers.
"The second was having the exams in the students' home schools, reducing the duration and changing the exam pattern. The Delhi government is not in favour of these options. We cannot play with the safety of students just to fulfil our stubborn wishes," the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader told a press conference.
Sisodia, who is also the education minister of Delhi, said the education system has its own compulsions but considering the extreme circumstances, they can be put aside.
"Conducting the examination by toying with students' safety will prove to be a big mistake. First vaccine, then exams. There are over 1.5 crore Class-12 students across the country and 95 per cent of them are above the age of seventeen-and-a-half years. The Centre should talk to experts if they can be given the Covishield or Covaxin vaccines.
"The Centre should also talk to Pfizer to explore vaccination for the Class 12 students. It is a must to vaccinate students, especially with experts indicating that the third wave of the coronavirus will be more dangerous for children," he added.
The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar also attended the meeting, besides the education ministers and secretaries of various states and Union territories.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had, on April 14, announced the cancellation of the Class 10 exams and postponed the Class 12 exams in view of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.