Rip The Band-Aid Off

The state’s boards examinations for Class X, XI and XII conducted by the BoSEM and CoHSEM have been cancelled in separate circulars issued on Wednesday ending all speculations although the decisions were prolonged a bit too long unnecessarily. Minister of Education S Rajen also made the announcement on Wednesday. He said that due to the pandemic of COVID-19 and its impacts in the present society, many sectors including education are being affected and it was really a tough decision. The government, according to Rajen, after thorough discussion and consultation with the stakeholders and local educationalists and experts decided to cancel this years’ Class X, XI and XII exams.

With the growing cases of Covid-19 in the state, the right decision was taken. It will be very unfair to ask the students to sit in the examinations during a situation of so much anxiety and uncertainty that is prevailing in the state due to the pandemic. Yes, it will be a blow to academically inclined students who have been engrossed in preparation for the fate-making examinations and dozens of demerits against the cancellation of the examinations will be forwarded in different mediums and forums. The single biggest advantage of the cancellation though is that no student will become a victim of the infection as a result of it and we cannot but applaud the decisions for the same reason.

Minister Rajen said that there will be diverse reactions and feelings amongst the students and guardians regarding this new decision, adding that we become helpless when some unseen complications suddenly arise in our society and appeal to all of them to pacify themselves and cooperate with the decision of the government. The minister is right to anticipate such reactions from the prospective candidates and their parents. If elections were held in the middle of the pandemic and there is gradual opening of the markets and public transportation services (in other states) are being contemplated, why cannot the exams be held with strict vigils are part of the spectrum of questions. For hundreds of students who have been reading with the burning intent to top the competition lists for months, the cancellation might be interpreted as an injustice of sorts. But there is absolutely no way that the examinations can be held under the perilous circumstances that have held sway in the state. Was there any way to give a fair chance to the hard-working students through an alternative arrangement? Online examinations cannot be considered a viable option as it will without doubt lead to gross use of unfair means, which will be adding another injustice to the hardworking students. And above all, such a mode of examinations is dependent on internet services and technology which is not a luxury all the students can depend on or afford and another injustice to a different bracket of students will be committed. Postponement of the examinations will have succeeded in giving the prospective candidates some straws to hold on to but it is unlikely that the situation will become conducive even months from now. So, it was better not to add to the suspense but rip the band-aid off at the earliest. The boards have done all it can to wait for a window of opportunity to conduct the examinations and this fact should be noted by both the students and their parents. Syllabus were reduced for most boards and the call to scrap the exams was left to the last minute. There were lots of opinions calling for cancellation of the examinations due to the massive psychosis of the Coronavirus pandemic. Even after hearing the appeals, the officials at the education department sympathized with the students who have burnt the midnight oil just to stamp their excellence in these examinations. That is why they took the time to make a decision. But it was impossible for them to set the date and just say all of those who do not think they can sit in the examinations this year can sit back at their homes and appear next time when their fears have dissipated. They ultimately looked both left and right and made an honest decision that will be correct for all prospective candidates.

But the hardest thing for the education department is yet to be dealt with and it concerns the manner of assessment of the performances of the students for their final tabulations. In this regard, Rajen informed that a 14 member committee has been constituted to develop an alternative assessment/evaluation mechanism for assessment of students in Class X and XII. Modus operandi of the award of marks, certificates to the students shall be done by this committee with due approval of the government. We hope that the method adopted by the government is agreeable to all. Further, we wish the best in their future endeavours to the classes of 2020-21 that will remain forever etched in history as a rarest of rare group, even if opportunities for personal excellence were eliminated.