Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday decided to cancel Class 12 board examinations. Earlier in a meeting, he was briefed on all possible options, following extensive discussions with all states and other stakeholders.
The virtual meeting began at 5:30 PM. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javdekar, Smriti Irani, and concerned secretaries were also a part of the meeting, sources said.
On Monday, the government informed the Supreme Court that it will take a final decision within the next two days on whether to conduct class 12 board exams amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General K K Venugopal told this to a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari which said if the Centre decides to depart from the last year’s policy, wherein the remaining board exams were cancelled due to the pandemic, then it must give “tangible reasons” for it.
After a high-level meeting on May 23, the minister had said that there was a broad consensus among states about conducting Class 12 board exams and an “informed, collaborative” decision would be taken by June 1.
Back on April 14, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had announced cancellation of class 10 exams and postponement of class 12 exams in view of the surge in coronavirus cases. Recently, the Ministry of Education had sought detailed suggestions from the states and Union Territories till May 25 on the proposals discussed in a high-level meeting held on the issue.
The CBSE had proposed conducting the exams between July 15-August 26 and the result to be declared in September. The board had also proposed two options: conducting regular exams for 19 major subjects at notified centres or conducting shorter duration exams at respective schools where students are enrolled.
CONGRESS PROTESTS OFFLINE EXAMS
The Congress party has been objecting offline examinations for Class 12 board students. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday wrote to Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and advocated not holding Class 12 board exams amid the pandemic, saying children will be subjected to great injustice if they are pushed into circumstances that endanger their lives.
In her letter to the minister, Priyanka Gandhi shared the suggestions she received from several students and parents who had interacted with her on the matter in the past few days. She said experts have repeatedly stated that a third wave is imminent and have warned that it might be more perilous for children and teenagers.