NEW DELHI :
Ending uncertainty for 3.5 million students and their families, the Union government on Wednesday postponed Class XII board examinations under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and cancelled the Class X CBSE board exams.
The decision comes amid growing demand from parents, states and political parties to reschedule exams or find an alternative to physical exams as coronavirus cases surge in India.
The Union government will hold a review meeting on 1 June to decide on the future exam dates for Class XII exams, and the CBSE will give 15 days’ notice before the new exam dates.
For Class X students, results will be prepared on the basis of an “objective criterion to be developed by the CBSE”, the Union education ministry said.
Details are expected to emerge over the next few days, but an official said on condition of anonymity that at least one year of classroom performance and performance in project works may be used to calculate class X results.
Students who are not satisfied with these objective criterion-based results will be given an opportunity to sit for an exam once the situation is conducive, the CBSE said.
“The Board Exams for Class XII to be held from 4 May to 14 June …are hereby postponed. These exams will be held hereafter. The situation will be reviewed on 1 June by the Board, and details will be shared subsequently. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations,” the education ministry statement said after a review meeting.
CBSE also issued a notification reiterating its stand.
“The Board Exams for Class X to be held from 4 May to 14 June 2021 are hereby cancelled. The results of the Class X Board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him/her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the ministry added.
The decisions came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting with the education minister, cabinet secretary and top ministry officials, where preparations vis-à-vis the pandemic and how schools have been shut down in 11 states were discussed.
Unlike the state boards, CBSE has an all-India character and, therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country.
The Union education ministry on Wednesday said Prime Minister Modi told the officials that the “well-being of the students has to be the top priority for the government”.
He also stated that the Centre “would keep in mind the best interests of the students and ensure that their health is taken care of (and) at the same time their academic interests are not harmed”.
Over 2.1 million students were slated to appear for CBSE’s Class X board exams and around 1.4 million for CBSE Class XII board exams, official data showed.
Other boards such as the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE) and the state boards are yet to decide on rescheduling their respective exam dates set for May, but they are expected to act similarly.
“We are reading about the CBSE decision, but we are yet to take a call on rescheduling our board exams. We shall take a call on the exam schedule at the earliest,” said Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations that conducts ICSE and ISC exams.
Numerous students and their parents had appealed to CBSE over the past few days to not conduct the exam offline, fearing that it will expose youngsters to the virus.
The Delhi government, too, is not in favour of conducting the CBSE board exam offline.
Last week, the Shiv Sena and the Congress party had appealed to the Union education ministry to reschedule the board exams.