The Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board examinations will be conducted offline this year by maintaining COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), revealed a source at the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), Mumbai region.
Students of the state-run schools and their parents have been waiting for details regarding mode of conduct of exam amidst COVID-19 risks.
The source told the Free Press Journal that SSC and HSC board exams cannot be conducted online due to the diversity in economic conditions and lack of access to technical facilities among students of different backgrounds.
The source said, "Both SSC (Class 10) and HSC (Class 12) board examinations will be conducted offline. The exams cannot be conducted via online mode because there are many students who do not have access to internet, WiFi connection, adequate power supply, computer and smartphones."
Further, a senior officer of the MSBSHSE, Mumbai division confirmed it saying, "Though an official announcement has not been made yet, the SSC and HSC board exams will be conducted offline by maintaining all COVID-19 precautionary measures, social distancing and safety protocols."
The officer added, "Conducting online exams is not a feasible option because there are a large number of students appearing for Class 10 and Class 12 exams. Every year, more than 15 lakh students appear for SSC exams while, over 14 lakh students approximately appear for HSC exams in Maharashtra."
Students studying in state-board schools and their parents said they are waiting for some clarity whether SSC and HSC exams will be conducted offline or online. Yash Gupta, a HSC student said, "How is the state government planning to ensure safety of students if board exams are going to be conducted offline?"
Farheen Azari, a parent of a SSC student, said, "There are just three months left for board exams. The state school education department should provide some information on conduct of exams and preparedness at the ground level otherwise, how will parents give consent to let their children appear for exams?"
Till date, the state school education minister has not made any announcement regarding mode of conduct of SSC and HSC exam apart from declaring tentative dates. On January 3, 2021, Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister said, "HSC board exams would begin after April 15 while, SSC board exams would be conducted after May 1, 2021 tentatively."