The health and safety of students is a priority, stressed state School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad after she held a meeting with principals and stakeholders on conducting Class 10 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board examinations offline. Meanwhile, private boards, such as the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), have clearly stated that board examinations will be held offline keeping COVID-19 safety protocols in mind.
Gaikwad said, "We understand that students are stressed, as there is academic pressure on one side and health risks on the other due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. We are discussing the matter with various stakeholders."
"The safety and health of students is our priority. At the same time, we want academic teaching and learning to continue. We will take a final decision on the matter after consulting with the chief minister and deputy CM of Maharashtra in the next few days," Gaikwad said.
Meanwhile, students and teachers have raised concerns regarding offline board examinations. Mughda Dasgupta, an HSC student said, "The board examinations should be conducted online in cities where internet and technical facilities are available, as the COVID-19 cases are high. While, in remote districts and villages, where technical facilities are not available and the cases are low, the examinations can be conducted offline."
Vinayak Mhatre, a SSC board teacher, said, "Vaccination of all teaching and non-teaching staff is not done, which might pose several risks during the offline board examinations. The state should consider the option of assignments or internal assessment as a special case for this year on account of the pandemic."