– Dipta Joshi
The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) secondary school certificate (SSC) class 10 and higher secondary certificate (HSC) class 12 board exams have been postponed in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the state. All other national boards will also be asked to defer their exams in keeping with the state board’s decision.
Calling the decision to postpone exams as the “most pragmatic solution” keeping in mind the health, well-being and future of the children, the state’ education minister, Varsha Gaikwad shared the announcement through social media. “We’ll also be writing to the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), IB (International Baccalaureate) Cambridge boards, requesting them to reconsider their exam dates,” added the minister.
While fresh dates are to be announced accordingly, class 10 exams will now be held in sometime in June while class 12 exams will be conducted end of May. This year, 29-30 lakh students are expected to write their class 10 and class 12 board papers. The decision is the outcome of consultations with various stakeholders – students, parents, teachers, academicians and elected representatives from across political parties. Maharashtra has been the worst hit COVID-19 state in the country recording 63294 – the highest number of single- day surge with 349 deaths (11 April).
While the annual 10 and 12 class boards are typically held in March each year, the pandemic situation resulted in the government postponing exams to 29 April-20 May for class 10 exams and 23 April-21 May for class 12 exams. Announcing the revised examination guidelines earlier in March, the government had provided some relief to the students in terms of extra time for offline papers etc. besides declaring dates for submission of the 20 marks internal assignments – 21 May -10 June for class 10 and 22May-10 June for class 12 students. These dates too will have to be postponed say students and parents who aren’t happy about another postponement.
“In Maharashtra, almost 30 percent of the teachers are COVID-19 positive and many teachers are not vaccinated. With no guarantee that the pandemic will likely end by June, it is high time the government come up with a real solution instead of postponements which in no way reduces students’ stress levels. Parents across the state have been asking the state government to consider teacher-based assessment grading for the year which many other countries have adopted successfully. Why can’t the government explore other assessment options especially considering the impact these delays will have on the academic calendar?” asks Anubha Sahai, president of the India-wide Parents Association.
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