Over 800 students from across the country have approached the Supreme Court through a letter petition urging it to take suo motu cognisance of the decision of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to conduct compartment exams amid COVID-19 pandemic. The letter petition, filed by National General Secretary of the All India Students Association on behalf of 809 students, apprised Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and other judges of the apex court that decision of CBSE exposes students, parents, teachers and staff to a lot of risk in view of exponential growth of the virus in the country.
"The students are seeking suo motu cognisance of the Supreme Court in this pandemic situation. They are not contending the importance of examination in academics. With no certainty as to when the Compartment examination is going to be conducted, students are losing opportunities to apply in colleges whose deadline for admission is already announced," Tanvi Dubey, advisor to AISA and students, told India TV Digital.
WHAT THE LETTER STATES
- The decision to conduct the compartment exam is in sheer violation of the Right to Health which is part of Right to Life enshrined in the Constitution of India, as it fails to consider the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for the students. It is submitted that the country is witnessing exponential growth of COVID-19. The Indian Medical Association recently stated that the community spread has already started in the country.
- In view of unprecedented health emergency and rising numbers of the COVID-19 cases in the country, the conduct of compartment examination will expose the examinees to a great risk and will undeniably sacrifice basic principle of integrity by neglecting equal basis and treatment to all examinees. The conduct of offline exam will entail students to migrate from one place to another, in order to attend the examination. This will also involve risk of staying in shared accommodation, eating outside food and use of public transport among other factors. It is most respectfully submitted that the conduct of compartment examination will expose lakhs of students across the country to exponential risk of being exposed to the virus. Not only the students but also their parents, teachers, staff members will also be exposed to life threatening risk. Many schools have been converted into quarantine centres which makes the conduct of the examination impossible.
- It will be absolutely unjust to neglect the problems that will be faced by thousands of students who will sit for online examination as the same will indubitably work against the interest of students whose access to internet is precarious and who do not have personal computers or laptops in their houses, which is imperative to conduct online examination.
- The suggested model is adversely affecting the future prospects of lakhs of students, as many colleges have already announced the admission closure dates. Further, online classes for many students who have been promoted from Class 10 to Class 12, have already started, which is adversely affecting the students who are stranded with no certainty regarding completion of their examination.
- Because of the draconian decision taken by CBSE for conduct of compartment examination, many students out of mental stress and frustration, have even gone of committing suicide.
- Students are suffering from mental trauma, anxiety and stress as there is no clarity given by the CBSE yet, on the schedule of the compartment examination which is proposed to be conducted for Class 10 and Class 12. The students across the country are surrounded by a cloud of uncertainty as no exam schedule, mode of conduction of exam is yet provided by CBSE. It is baffling to note that many colleges are about to close admissions, which is adversely affecting the career of lakhs of students, who will be deprived entrance into universities/colleges/institutions, of their choice.
- Decision taken by CBSE to conduct the compartment exam is itself flawed and is in complete disregard to MHA guidelines dated 29.07.2020. It is pertinent to note that the MHA guidelines itself provide that the schools will be closed till August 31. Therefore, the decision taken by CBSE is arbitrary and without any basis.
- When the country is witnessing the third phase of unlock, which commenced from 1.06.2020, various states including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, have announced lockdown, due to rising number of cases and increased threat of the spread of the virus. Therefore, in the present circumstances, the conduct of compartment examination is impossible and impracticable.