Students of the Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board have been urging the state School Education Department to cancel board examinations amidst the current COVID-19 situation. While the state is yet to take a final call, teachers said it is not possible to cancel the examinations completely unless the central board comes out with a plan of action.
As of now, the state School Education Department has not cancelled the Class 12 HSC board examination, but has postponed it till May-end. Students have raised concerns regarding their safety if the examinations are going to be conducted by May-end.
Divesh Jadhav, a Class 12 HSC student, said, "Maharashtra and Mumbai has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, which indicates that the virus is spreading. Hospitals and healthcare centres are already overburdened. If the HSC board examinations are conducted offline amidst such a catastrophic situation, it might lead to serious consequences."
Students have been repeatedly appealing on social media and writing letters to the state School Education Department to cancel the offline HSC board examinations or find alternative methods for assessment. Nandini Roy, a student said, "If the department does not have the bandwidth to conduct Class 12 board examinations online, then the state should devise alternative methods for assessment. Not a single student should be forced to step out and appear for the examinations during such a crisis."
Teachers said the department will follow suit when the Central board of Secondary Education (CBSE) takes a decision regarding Class 12 examinations. Kanika Sharma, a teacher said, "If the COVID-19 situation does not improve by May-end, the state will have to postpone the examinations. But the cancellation of examinations is not feasible, because students need to be assessed and marked in order to be eligible and attempt various competitive entrance tests for professional courses."
Joji Cheteshwar, another teacher said, "The department cancelled Class 10 SSC board examinations following suit of the cancellation by CBSE and other private boards. Similarly, CBSE should first take a decision regarding Class 12 board examinations. The state will then follow suit."