CBSE Class 12 board exams cancelled; cannot put students at risk, says PM

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Bringing relief to almost 1.4 million students, the union government Tuesday cancelled class 12 board examinations of the central board of secondary education (CBSE) after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting on the subject.

The union government said the decision was taken keeping in mind the health and safety of the students and CBSE will announce the results “as per well-defined objective criteria in a time bound manner.” It was also decided that in case some students desire to take the exams, CBSE will offer an option “as and when the situation becomes conducive”.

In the evening, PM Modi chaired a review meeting and CBSE and education ministry officials gave a detailed presentation on the wide and extensive consultation held so far and views received from all stakeholders, including state governments.

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“In view of the uncertain conditions due to COVID and the feedback obtained from various stakeholders, it was decided that Class XII Board Exams would not be held this year. It was also decided that CBSE will take steps to compile the results of class XII students as per a well-defined objective criteria in a time-bound manner,” a statement from the PMO said.

PM said that the decision on Class 12 CBSE Exams has been taken in the interest of students and stated that the pandemic has affected the academic calendar and the issue of board exams has been causing immense anxiety among students, parents and teachers, which must be put to an end. He said students cannot be put at risk during the current scenario.

PM said that the Covid situation is a dynamic situation across the country… and students should not be forced to appear for exams in such a stressful situation.

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“The Prime Minister stressed that the health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and there would be no compromise on this aspect,” the PMO statement said.

Referring to the wide consultative process, Modi said a student friendly decision has been reached after consulting all stakeholders from across the length and breadth of India.

On 23 May, a group of ministers met states on the board exams and most of the states had supported a truncated board exams for 19 subjects one of the two option offered by CBE. The central board has suggested that exams should happen in the same school and exam duration should not exceed more than 90 minutes.

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But some states including Maharashtra and Delhi had opposed any physical exams keeping in mind the current pandemic environment.

This was the third meeting of the PM on the CBSE board exam. While he chaired a meeting on 14 April after which the class 10 board exam was cancelled, and class exams were deferred. On 21 May he also chaired a meeting and following which a group of ministers met states on 23 May.

Tuesday’s meeting was attended by union ministers of Home, Defence, Finance, Commerce, Information & Broadcasting, Petroleum, and Women & Child Development Ministries and Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary & Secretaries of School Education & Higher Education Departments & other officials. The education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal did not attend the meeting as he was admitted to AIIMS for post covid-19 complications earlier in the day.

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The CBSE board exams had become a huge debate after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country. Several political parties including Congress and Aam Admi Party had urged the government to cancel the exams. Industry lobby group FICCI too had written to education ministry advocating cancellation of the exams.

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