- One of the most controversial as well as difficult decisions for the administration to take is to weigh pros and cons about any matter related to and affecting children. Since the matter involved is extremely sensitive affecting the very fabric of the society in totality, the government of the day would never rush through to decide delicate issues on children. The pandemic has assumed such a ubiquitous and all-pervading role in our lives for the past year and a half that every major decision revolves around the prickly matter. And most dishearteningly, knowing that the pandemic will rule the roost for the foreseeable future renders us most distraught as the reign of uncertainty and unbeknownst will continue.
PC: Raney Aronson-Rath
- The education for the children has undergone severe constraints is stating the obvious. Not only the regular school education but also competitive exams scheduled has gone haywire needs no further emphasis. The government and school authorities are in a bind searching for an acceptable solution or two as to what exactly they are expected to plan that would ensure no further damages to the prospects of children on the cusp of moving ahead in their lives. The classical dilemma bothering the authorities currently is how and what to do with Class 12 exams. The devastating Covid second wave has served an ominous lesson against complacent attitudes, including those that allowed mass gatherings.
- The Centre is currently involved in deliberations with states on deciding the modalities for conducting Class 12 CBSE board exams. As reported, two options have been presented. Option one proposes regular exams only for the major subjects in August. The other option moots short duration tests involving multiple choice and short answer questions in two phases over July and August, duly recognizing varying regional spread of the pandemic. Unfortunately, both options entail students’ presence in exam halls in an indoor setting viz. 180 minutes for option one and 90 minutes for option two. As can be seen, both carry the risk of indoor exposure to the virus.
PC: Ritika Chopra
- Note that the government’s latest scientific advisory even warns of aerosol spread up to 10 meters which will pose a health risk to the congregated students. Of course, Class 12 students are not vaccinated nor many of their parents have got jabs either. On top of it, the experts are vociferous in their assessment about the next wave predominantly striking school children in greater numbers. None would be averse to taking any risks in such a scenario. There is no option but to heed the advice to avert potential superspreader events in this sensitive demography. No wonder, students and as well as parents are worried a lot about not knowing what beholds their future prospects in the absence of exams.
- Under these critical circumstances, it is well-advised to devise fair internal assessment procedures as par for the course measure. Also, scores in Class 12 boards are not to be treated as the sole gateway to higher education as scores under these trying scenarios cannot help in rational and comparative assessments. Thus, the onus squarely rests on higher education institutions to reimagine admission processes by conducting online entrance tests and interviews to select students. The CBSE and the government should zero in on conducting internal and online assessments prioritizing students’ health and safety. Lives matters over exams always. The wise decision should be made, and now!