Asserting that the second wave of COVID-19 has shown that children are vulnerable to new strains, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday reiterated her call for not holding the CBSE Class 12 exams and slammed the government for stretching the decision on it for months.
The Congress general secretary said expecting children who are already under immense pressure to sit for their exams wearing all sorts of protective gear for hours at a stretch day after day is "insensitive and unfair".
Her remarks came ahead of a crucial meeting called by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Sunday to decide on pending Class 12 board exams and subsequent entrance examinations that were postponed due to the second wave of COVID-19.
"Students studying for the CBSE 12th grade examinations have been sharing their concerns about these exams being held during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.Their health and safety MATTERS," Gandhi said in a tweet.
"Why are we not learning our lessons?" she asked. Gatherings in closed spaces promote the spread of COVID-19 and this wave has shown that children are vulnerable to new strains, she said in a series of tweets.
"In any case expecting children who are already under immense pressure to sit for their exams wearing all sorts of protective gear for hours at a stretch day after day is insensitive and unfair," the Congress leader said.
Many of them are likely to have family members who are down with COVID-19 too and they are already dealing with enough stress, she asserted.
"I fail to understand the reasoning behind holding these exams, not to mention having stretched this decision out for months," Gandhi said.
"I have said this before and am repeating it again. The mental health of children is as important as their physical well being. It's about time our education system incorporates sensitivity towards children's well being and starts taking these issues seriously," she said.
The high-level meeting called by the Education Ministry will be chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani as well as Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar will be among those present. Education ministers and secretaries of all states and union territories have been asked to attend the meeting.
The CBSE had on April 14 announced the cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponed Class 12 exams due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The CBSE had announced that a decision on the Class 12 board exams will be taken on or after June 1. A section of students and parents have been demanding that the exams be cancelled in the wake of the pandemic situation.