The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced cancellation of class 12 state board examinations and said a committee would be set up to decide on awarding marks to students.
Chief Minister M K Stalin, while announcing this, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel all national level entrance tests like National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and allow Tamil Nadu to fill professional seats including the MBBS based on class 12 marks alone.
The state government said the decision to call off the board exam was in view of the continuing high prevalence of the second wave of COVID-19 in several parts of Tamil Nadu and also considering the chances of a third wave.
Following consultations with stakeholders, including teachers, educationists and medical experts, Stalin said “the class 12 board examination for this year is cancelled,” adding that the decision was taken considering the well-being of students.
A committee, headed by the School Education Department Principal Secretary, would be set up to decide on giving marks to students and based on its recommendation, marks would be awarded, an official release said.
Such marks alone shall be the basis for admission to college courses, it said. Explaining the reasons for cancelling exams, the government pointed out that students below the age of 18 could not be vaccinated and allowing all of them to sit for the exam at the same time could increase the possibility of virus spread and deferring the exam too was not an option as such a move would affect them psychologically.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Stalin apprised him of the state cancelling its board exams and constituting a panel to fix criteria to evaluate students and award them marks. “Admissions to professional, arts and science courses in our state will be made based on these marks that will be awarded to the students.” The decisions have been made keeping in mind the safety of students and also considering the concerns expressed by a large section of educationists, teachers, parents and medical professionals, he said.
Considering the pandemic and concerns, he said conducting national level entrance examinations for any professional course would be immensely detrimental to the health and well- being of students. “I therefore urge you to cancel the conduct of all national level entrance examinations like NEET, as the same reasons adduced for cancelling the Class 12 board examinations are equally applicable to entrance examinations as well. Our state may be allowed to fill all professional seats including MBBS seats, on the basis of class 12 marks alone, as we have always emphasised. I am sure that you would appreciate the fairness of my request, and will act upon it favourably,” he said.
Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Haryana are among the states which have cancelled state board exams. The centre on June 1 decided to cancel the CBSE Class 12 board exams amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic across the country.