After a hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday in which it was said that the government will take a final decision in the next two days on whether to conduct Class 12 board exams amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, school owners and principals in Lucknow were divided over the issue.
Principal of La Martiniere Girls’ College, Aashrita Dass, said there should neither be online or offline examinations. “Instead, the board should issue pass certificates to all examinees. At present, students are in a state of trauma as many of them have lost their loved ones in the second wave of the pandemic. Let’s help them overcome this trauma,” she said.
Mala Mehra, principal of Hoerner College and secretary Unaided Private Schools Association, (UPSA) said exams should be cancelled as the situation is not favourable. “Conducting exams will lead to congregation of students and this may lead to major problems,” she added.
“The future of examinees is at stake. Those seeking admissions abroad need a super quick resolution and those seeking admissions within the country are worried about cut-offs. Only pass certificates with grades ought to be given to students on the basis of marks sent by schools,” said Mehra.
This will prevent unfair high percentages due to botched marks sent by overzealous schools in the race for 90 percentile. Watered down offline exams would also be an eyewash, she emphasaised.
Sarvesh Goel, chairman of GD Goenka Public School, Lucknow, said: “In this pandemic phase, students have gone through a lot of mental stress. Over the past few months, they have lost momentum to prepare for Board exams.”
“We would appreciate a decision taken by the education department at the earliest in the interest of the students as they have to seek admission for higher studies in India and abroad,” he said.
However, founder manager of City Montessori School Jagdish Gandhi said ISC and CBSE board exams of Class 12 should take place as students have been working hard throughout the year. “This will give a fair opportunity to students while maintaining the competitive spirit amongst them to perform with excellence,” he opined.
Gandhi said he had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP chief minister Yogi Aditiyanath and deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, requesting them to conduct Class 12 Board exams. He also spoke to Gerry Arathoon, secretary of the Council for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (CISCE), New Delhi, in this regard.
“Exams are a must for Class 12 board examinees. Awarding marks without examinations is not good. The suggestion given by CBSE is much better and I also said that exams can be of shorter duration and at the same centres where the child is enrolled,” said Anil Agarwal, managing director of St Joseph’s group of institutions.
CBSE Lucknow coordinator Jawaid Alam Khan said online exams make no sense because internet connectivity is good within the city but areas outside city areas face connectivity issues.
“We have the facilities and there will be no problem for our students. But I am not sure if students in the rest of the country have access to good infrastructure for online examinations,” said Carlyle McFarland, principal of La Martiniere College.