New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has urged the central government to vaccinate all teachers and students before looking to hold Class 12 exams.
In a letter to the Modi government, Sisodia has also said that if the Centre can’t ensure the vaccination, then it should cancel the exams altogether and instead hold internal assessment based on past performance.
He has further urged the ministry to start early discussion for exams scheduled in 2022.
Sisodia’s letter is a part of the feedback that the Modi government had sought from states after a high-level meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday.
“The central government should consult experts on whether vaccines like Covidshield and Covaxin available in India can be used for children above 17 years of age,” reads Sisodia’s letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
“The government should also talk to Pfizer and see if vaccines approved for children 12 years and above can be procured in India,” adds the letter, accessed by ThePrint read.
“If the two options are not possible then I suggest that board exams should be cancelled this year and instead students should be evaluated based on past performance,” the letter further states.
At the high-level meeting, Maharashtra was another state that had objections to conducting the exams. According to sources, Maharashtra is still in favour of the ‘non-exam route’.
While some states have submitted their suggestions to the Modi government, some others are still in the process of doing so.
Most of them including Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are in favour of holding the exams.
On being asked about the state government suggestions, a senior official from the ministry said that since the states were asked to submit suggestions by Tuesday the “ministry is in no position to comment anything at this stage”.
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Number of states keen on holding exams
A number of states, however, are keen to conduct the exams.
Uttar Pradesh Education Minister Dinesh Sharma told ThePrint that they are ready to hold the state board exams in line with Covid-19 safety norms whenever the situation permits but added that it is for the central government to decide on the CBSE board exam.
“We have increased the number of exam centres by 1,500 this year and we are ready to hold the exams for Class 12 whenever the local situation in the state permits. We have conveyed the same to the centre,” Sharma told ThePrint over phone.
The Gujarat government Tuesday announced that it will conduct Class 12 exams for students in the science and general stream from 1 July onwards. The government has decided that there will be multiple choice questions for science exams.
Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama ,while addressing a press conference Tuesday, said, “Part-1 of science stream will have MCQs and there will be descriptive writing in Part-2.”
He added that all Covid-19 protocols and standard operating protocols (SOPs) will be followed while organising the exams.
The Assam government is also in favour of conducting exams. According to officials in the state’s education department, the state is looking at conducting exams in limited subjects. “A student who is in Class 12 can write the exam in three or four subjects that are his most important subjects,” an official told ThePrint.
Sources in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana government ThePrint spoke to also said they are in favour of holding exams and are “awaiting the Centre’s directions on how to proceed”.
CBSE offers two options
CBSE had Sunday suggested two options to the states for conducting exams — both involving shorter duration and fewer subjects.
According to the first option, exams will be conducted at designated centres, and the schedule could begin on 1 August and end by 20 August. The second suggested option is conducting exams in schools itself, for that the board said exams could begin by 15 July and end by August.
According to sources, most states are in favour of the second option of holding exams on school premises.
A final call regarding exams will be taken by the central government after studying all the suggestions and feedback given by the states. A decision in this regard is likely to be announced by 1 June.
(With inputs by Aneesha Bedi and Rishika Sadam)
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