As all the state boards are releasing the date sheets for the upcoming Class 10 and 12 board examinations, news on a fresh surge in the number of coronavirus cases in India has been doing the rounds. The nature of repetitive corona crisis has, as a result, put a looming doubt on the school schedules for the academic year 2021-22.
The resurgence in COVID cases has been particularly reported in the states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh. In all of these 4 states, however, the board examination schedules have already been announced.
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Class 10 & 12 board examination 2021 – Rise in COVID cases worrisome
Let’s look into the situation of board exam schedules, particularly in the states where the coronavirus cases have been reported to be on a rise –
CBSE CLASS 10 & CLASS 12
- On 2 February 2021, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released the official date sheet of Class 10 and 12 board examinations.
- The CBSE Board theory examinations will be conducted between 4th May and 10th June 2021, and the practical exams will commence from 1st March 2021.
- However, how and under what circumstances will the board examinations be conducted across the country in the face of an upsurge in corona virus cases, is yet to be known.
CBSE CLASS 10 & CLASS 11
- While the CBSE announced the board exam schedules for Classes 10 and 12, it gave no clarity on the exam schedules of other higher classes including Class 9 and 11.
- Instead of providing clear instructions for schools all over the country, the Board has suggested the Principals/Heads of institutions affiliated to CBSE to start the academic session 2021-22 (for Class 9 and 11) from 1 April 2021.
- This has led to confusion in states like Kerala, where the academic sessions begin in June.
- Moreover, it has been interpreted that the suggestion to begin the academic year from 1 April is applicable only for online mode, since holding regular classes still seems questionable owing to the COVID crisis.
The Madhya Pradesh State of Senior Education has announced the Class 10 and Class 12 time table for the state board exams. While MPBSE Class 10 examinations will be conducted from 30 April to 15 May 2021, the MPBSE Class 12 exams will be conducted from 1 May to 18 May 2021.
Talking about the COVID-19 situation in the state, the Union Ministry stated on 20 February 2021 that “Since February 13, Madhya Pradesh is also witnessing a rise in the number of daily new cases. In the last 24 hours, 297 daily new cases have been registered in the state.”
The MP state board examinations for both Class 10 and 12 will be held in pen-and-paper mode between 8 am to 11 am. Under such circumstances, further instructions on COVID safety measures are likely.
The MP state board examinations have already undergone several changes due to the COVID-19 situation. The syllabus for Class 10 and 12 has been reduced by MPBSE, and the students have been attending offline classes from 18 December 2020 onwards. Moreover, the MP Board shall be promoting Class 1-8 students to the next classes on the basis of their class projects.
The Punjab School Education Board or PSEB has announced its state-board schedule as follows:
|PSEB Class 10 Board Exam Dates||09 April to 01 May 2021|
|PSEB Class 12 Board Exam Dates||22 March to 27 April 2021|
|Practical exam date for Class 12||February 14 to 20, 2021 and April 18 to April 23, 2021 (Tentative)|
- While exams for Classes 9 to 12 will be held in pen and paper mode, Class 1-8 students have the choice to appear in either offline or online exams.
- Around 2614 exam centres have been set up to conduct PSEB 10th standard board examinations for 3.36 lakh children.
- At the same time, 2,614 exam centres have been set up to hold board exams for more than 3.10 lakh Class 12 students.
- The Punjab Board has already reduced the syllabus for Class 10 and 12 by 30% due to the disturbance in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In the meanwhile, 383 fresh cases have been recorded in the state within 24 hours on 20 February 2021, increasing the concerns of students and parents regarding the conduct of board examinations in offline mode.
COVID situation –
- The states of Maharashtra and Kerala account for 75.87 per cent of total number of active COVID-19 cases in India at the moment.
- “In the last 24 hours, 6,112 daily new cases have been reported in the state,” reported the Union Ministry in a statement on 20 February 2021
- This has led to the state government imposing strict COVID-19 guidelines in districts including Amravati, Mumba, Nagpur, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim and Buldhana. Religious, social and political gatherings are specially under restrictions.
Effect on Board examination schedule –
- In Mumbai, the schools have still not been reopened and the Municipal Corporation has announced that if five or more COVID-19 patients are found in a building, it will be sealed.
- Similarly, schools, colleges and private coaching classes in Pune have been closed till 28 February.
- In such a scenario, the pre-board exam for Classes 10 and 12 in Mumbai are either being conducted online or put on a hold for the moment.
- Since both CBSE and Maharashtra State Board have scheduled the Class 10 and 12 board exams from April onwards, school authorities are worried that they might be able to conduct practical examinations before the board examinations begin.
Note: Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad announced last month that the SSC exams in the state will be held from 29 April to 31 May, while the HSC exam will be held from 23 April to 29 May.
Kerala is the second-worst COVID affected state in the country after Maharashtra. Its State Government, however, has already declared that the Kerala SSLC Board Exam 2021 and Class 10 exam will be held from 17 March 2021 onwards. The Class 12 board exams shall be held from 17 March to 30 March 2021.
In the meanwhile, keeping in viewpoint the coronavirus situation in the state, Kerala schools are likely to conduct Class 9 and 10 exams in online mode. This is despite the fact that CBSE has directed its affiliated schools to conduct annual exams for Classes 9 and 11 in offline mode.
Recently, CBSE’s notification regarding conducting exams in offline mode raised the eyebrows of parents and teachers in Kerala, as many spoke up about the safety concerns in the midst of rising COVID cases in the state.
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