Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Sunday said a decision on Class 12 exams in the state, which have been postponed earlier, will be taken in a week’s time, and added that the option of a “non-examination route” should be explored in view of the ongoing pandemic situation.
She was speaking to reporters after participating in a meeting convened by the central government to decide the fate of the pending Class 12 board exams and the subsequent entrance exams, which were postponed in view of the second wave of COVID-19.
The Maharashtra government has already cancelled Class 10 exams of the state board. “There are 25,000 CBSE students and 14 lakh state board students (of Class 12 in Maharashtra),” Gaikwad said.
“The chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) has called a meeting on Monday with the school education department and a decision regarding Class 12 exams will be taken in a week’s time,” the minister said.
The Bombay High Court had on Thursday come down heavily on the Maharashtra government over the cancellation of Class 10 exams, saying it was making a mockery of the education system. A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade had sought a reply as to why the decision to cancel the state board exam should not be set aside.
When asked about it, Gaikwad said the government will inform the high court regarding the cancellation of Class 10 exams, saying the prevailing pandemic situation was unprecedented. “Keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic situation, the projection that children are vulnerable to new strains of coronavirus, an option of a non-examination route for Class 12 students should be actively examined. Health and mental well-being of children, their families must be our priority. Students and parents have been sharing their concern about appearing for exams amid the pandemic,” Gaikwad said in a tweet later.
Since most professional courses hold entrance exams for admissions, many experts are of the view that it is possible to evaluate performance of Class 12 students based on the retroactive assessment model, the minister added. Students have been studying in class 12th for over 14 months. Personally, I believe that we should remove the uncertainty regarding exams & take a decision that is in student’s interest, she said. “Our focus should now be in evolving a UNIFORM ASSESSMENT policy, VACCINATION of all teachers & eligible students, & safe resumption of schools, colleges campuses for the next academic year,” Gaikwad said on the micro-blogging site.
For CBSE schools, Centre has sought feedback from states on two options it has proposed for the conduct of exams. I’ve given our initial feedback but have conveyed that will hold further deliberations with the chief minister and legal experts on both CBSE and our own board exams, she added.