A look at social media hashtags of #PehleJaanFirExam and #cancelboardexams2021 will suffice to figure out on which side of the line students stand. For a while now, CBSE Class 10, 12 students appearing for board exams have been demanding cancellation of the exams that are just a month away. Over 1 lakh students of Class 10 and 12 signed petitions urging the government to cancel the exams or conduct them online. But the CBSE board has said that exams will be conducted as per the schedule.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also joined the students and said it is pretty irresponsible of the board to conduct exams in such a scenario. "It is downright irresponsible of boards like the CBSE to force students to sit for exams under the prevailing circumstances. Board exams should either be cancelled, rescheduled or arranged in a manner that does not require the physical presence of children at crowded exam centres," said Gandhi.
Class 10 board exams are scheduled to be held from May 4 and June 7, while Class 12 exams will be held from May 4 to June 15, as per the date sheet.
WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING
Students have taken to social media to say that cases have been on a sharp rise and as such, it is not a good idea to conduct the nationwide exams. Some have suggested that since classes were mostly conducted online, exams too should be. Some said that students should be graduated on the basis of internal assessment. And then some pointed out that their lives are more important than an exam.
"The situation in India is getting worse day by day. When there were only a few cases in the country, they cancelled the remaining board exams and now when the cases are at a peak they are planning to open schools. We urge the education minister to look into this matter and cancel all examinations to be held this year as students are already under a lot of stress," a petition on Change.org stated.
"The students have already faced a lot of problems till now in this pandemic. Classes were held online so the exams should also be held online or students should be promoted via internal assessment marks (sic)," said a student on Twitter, while another said, "Dear Government, How can u be so irresponsible? How can u do injustice to students? How can u take exams after online studies? How can you give priority to exams and not to our important life? (sic)"
"Even countries like Kuwait, Mexico, Saudi Arabia have cancelled the exams which has very few cases of covid. So, why can't India which has cases more than 1.15lakh daily (sic)," said a student, while another said, "Studying is very much an important aspect of life and we can't deny it. But life is much more important than that (sic)"
WHAT CBSE IS SAYING
The board has said that exams will be conducted as per schedule. It said that arrangements have been made to ensure the safety of students.
"Adequate arrangements are being made to ensure the students are safe and all COVID protocols are followed. The number of exam centres has been increased by 40-50 per cent to ensure social distancing. The staff at exam centres is being sensitised to ensure all guidelines are followed," a senior CBSE official said.
CBSE had also announced previously that if a student fails to appear for the ongoing practical exams after testing positive, then schools will retest them at an appropriate time. However, it is unclear if the same relaxations would be allowed for theory exams.
Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive and Secretary at Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), said the schedule for exams "will remain the same".