Conducting CBSE class 12 board exams before vaccinating students can prove to be a big mistake, Delhi deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia told the Centre at a high-level meeting called by the Ministry of Education on Sunday.
The meeting by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with many other ministries including Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister of Women and Child Smriti Zubin Irani, and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. CBSE officials, education ministers of all states, Education Secretaries, and Chairpersons of the State Examination Boards were also present during the meeting.
In a press conference after attending the meeting, Sisodia said, “Delhi government is not in favor of conducting exams in any form. We cannot take exams by compromising the safety and security of students. We have to think like a parent at a time when there is a possibility of the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic in the country and there are theories that it may affect children the most…This is not the time to conduct exams. Students should be evaluated using alternative methods like CBSE is using for class 10 students.”
CBSE has decided to evaluate class 10 students on the basis of their internal marks after their exams were cancelled last month owing to the pandemic situation.
Sisodia said that the Delhi government has demanded vaccination for children before conducting exams during the meeting. “It would be a big mistake to conduct exams by compromising with the safety of children. Vaccination should be the priority of the central government. Center should discuss with Pfizer and get vaccines for 1.4 crore children (scheduled to appear in class 12 exams) and teachers,” he said.
He said that 95% of the students studying in class 12th are above the age of 17-and-half-years, and suggested the central government consult the health experts whether the vaccine given to the age group of 18+ can be given to the students of class 12th as well. “If the vaccine can be given to 17-and-half-years olds in the age group of 18+ after the advice of health experts, then the indigenously made CovidShield and Covaxin should be given to all the children of class 12 at priority,” he said.
“Once the vaccine is available, all the state governments should ensure that all the class 12 students and school teachers are vaccinated within a week. In Delhi, we can vaccinate all the students of 12th and school teachers within two days,” Sisodia added.