Education Minister misses crucial meeting because of post-Covid illness
NEW DELHI – The government has decided not to hold Class XII exams of the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) this year. The decision was communicated on Tuesday in an official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office following a review meeting attended by various ministers and government officials chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CBSE will take steps to compile the results of class XII students as per a well-defined objective criteria in a time-bound manner. It was also decided that like last year, in case some students desire to take the exams, such an option would be provided to them by CBSE, as and when the situation becomes conducive.
The official statement said that the decision on Class XII CBSE Exams has been taken in the interest of students. Quoting the Prime Minister, it stated that Covid-19 has affected the academic calendar and the issue of Board Exams has been causing immense anxiety among students, parents and teachers, which must be put to an end.
Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) and National Students Union of India (NSUI), the Congress-affiliated student body, were quick to welcome the decision. NSUI called it a “Huge victory for student power”.
SIO hailed the announcement but criticised the delay in decision-making and called on all stakeholders to rethink the primacy given to exams in the educational system.
“We welcome the decision to cancel Class 12 Board Exams in the interests of public health and safety. We had been reiterating this demand from the beginning of the pandemic and had repeatedly urged the central government to take this decision in a speedy manner through multiple letters. The delay in decision-making has caused unwarranted uncertainty and anxiety for students at a critical period of their educational journey. It is a sad commentary on the priorities of the central government and the seriousness with which our political leadership views issues of student welfare and education. We would also like to take this opportunity to call upon all stakeholders in the field of education, from parents and teachers to policymakers, to re-evaluate the primacy given to exams and the centrality of ‘high stakes’ annual exams in our entire education system.”
The Prime Minister had earlier held a high-level meeting on May 21 which was attended by ministers and officials. Thereafter a meeting under the chairmanship of the Union Defence Minister was held on May 23 which was attended by the education ministers of all the states. Various options for conduct of CBSE examinations were discussed in the meeting and feedback obtained from the states and UTs.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Union Ministers of Home, Defence, Finance, Commerce, Information & Broadcasting, Petroleum and Women & Child Development Ministries and Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary & Secretaries of School Education & Higher Education Departments and other officials.
But the list of participants did not mention the name of Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. Media reports suggest that he may be admitted to AIIMS Delhi due to post-Covid complications.