Amid the raging pandemic crisis, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has called a crucial meeting today to decide on the pending Class 12 board exams and subsequent entrance examinations for professional courses like NEET, JEE Main. All these exams were postponed due to the second wave of COVID-19, said Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
The high-level meeting will be chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani as well as Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar will be among those present.
Education ministers and secretaries of all states and union territories have been asked to attend the meeting. Pokhriyal also sought inputs from all the stakeholders – students, parents, teachers and others - through social media on Saturday. "This virtual meeting will take place at 11.30 am," he added.
According to CBSE sources, the possible options that can be explored are --conducting pen and paper mode exams for only major subjects, conducting all exams in two phases planned as per the COVID-19 situation in different states or districts, or cancelling the exams and announcing results as per an alternative assessment scheme.
A senior board official, however, said, "nothing has been finalised yet. A final call will only be taken by the Education Ministry after considering suggestions from all stakeholders".
In a letter to the states and UTs, the education minister has said that his ministry's Department of School Education and the CBSE were exploring options regarding the conduct of the examinations, keeping in mind the safety and security of both students and teachers. "The Department of Higher Education is also deliberating upon the finalisation of the dates of examinations for institutions of higher learning. COVID-19 pandemic has affected various areas including the education sector, particularly the board exams and entrance exams," the letter noted.
In view of the prevailing situation, almost all state education boards, the CBSE and the ICSE have postponed their Class 12 examinations. Similarly, the National Testing Agency (NTA) and other national exam conducting institutions have also postponed entrance exams for admissions to professional courses.
The CBSE had on April 14 announced the cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponed Class 12 exams due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The April and May editions of the engineering entrance exam JEE-Mains were also postponed. The board exams, which are usually conducted in February-March every year, were scheduled to be held from May 4.
The CBSE had announced that a decision on the Class 12 board exams will be taken on or after June 1. A section of students and parents have been demanding that the Class 12 exams be cancelled in the wake of the pandemic situation. The CBSE had earlier this month announced the marking policy for Class 10 board exams.