Class 12 Exam Conundrum: To conduct or not to conduct yet…?

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Students the worst victims of COVID-19 Pandemic
RM ZUTSHI
JAMMU: It is an acknowledged fact that despite the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every sector across the globe, the worst impact has been on the Education sector with students becoming the worst victims of the bio-tragedy that is yet to relent in India. Though the impact on most of the sectors has instantly come to fore, yet its worst impact on the students that presently seems to a tiny spec in fact has far reaching impact upon their present and future performance and hence upon the nation and its people. The students continue to be haunted by the inevitable questions, whether the exam will at all be held or not or if it is to be held when and how is it going to be conducted by the concerned authorities? In the mean time the issue of the conduct of their Class 12 Board exams has reached the Supreme Court and would be heard today and engulfed in the aforesaid conundrum they are sitting with their fingers crossed, most perturbed on seeing their future oscillating in this unprecedented crisis situation. It is indisputable that the students’ performance in the Class 12 Board exams is going to decide their future career options as it is prerequisite for seeking admission to various professional courses in the country and the process adopted last year has failed to deliver optimum result with the highly meritorious students pre-pandemic having been at the receiving end due to faulty system adopted by those at the helm of affairs.
Today it needs to be acknowledged by one and all that with a very few exceptions the online system resorted to due to the prevailing compulsions has not been delivering the expected results due to various factors effecting the system simultaneously. This has resulted in great difficulty so far conduct of various examinations and evaluation is concerned, because the new system is not so easy to adopt and to be accustomed to, not only for the teachers but even for the students. It is pertinent to mention here that the open book system exam adopted in case of various professional courses too continues to be the biggest flop show till date.
In the situation having evolved in these about two years it has been found that devoted and industrious students have been the worst affected. There are diametrically two lobbies existing today, one having genuine concern to ensure that a logical balance is drawn between the existing situation and the education system especially so far as exams are concerned, while the other one is working overtime with the full patronage of certain disgruntled political leadership to ensure that the system of mass promotions be adopted during the pandemic, least bothering about its devastating impact on students’ future and ultimately the nation’s future in the long run.
Keeping in view the genuine interests of the stakeholders i.e. students, parents and last but not the least the students, it is hoped that the apex court will take all the factors into consideration, with the concerns of the genuinely dedicated and industrious students taking the front seat. After all the Supreme Court earlier too had made it crystal clear that while health and safety of the students is the topmost priority, at the same time promotions without conducting the exams of the classes that pave the way for admissions to professional colleges cannot be allowed as this would have adverse impact on the future of students pursuing professional studies as well that of the nation.
It would be quite feasible to postpone the exams for some time, prioritize the vaccination of students appearing in class 12 exams finishing the same in the shortest possible fixed timeline and finally conduct the exams physically in the traditional way. While this will delay the admissions to professional courses by a month or two but undoubtedly it will leave no scope of the long term adverse impact on the students’ career and the nation.
Prof R.K. Aima (Educationist)
“Conducting the exams only for major subjects does not reduce the risk of super spreaders. However, it may only reduce the cost and workload. Despite strictly following SOPs, conducting any exam will be a huge Covid risk.”
Amit Kaul (Parent)
“CBSE should go ahead with offline mode of exams with strict Covid safety protocols in place, the style and pattern of question paper could be objective-based, with shorter time duration and for all subjects and not selected ones.”
Ranjeet Thakur (Student)
“If a student is promoted without any exam, or exam held online, it will not be true and objective assessment. The best option is to get all the Class 12 students and teachers vaccinated first on topmost priority and then conduct exams physically in the traditional way. The interest of industrious students should be safeguarded foremost.”
Asstt Prof Monika Bhardwaj (Law School JU)
“If necessary online exam is an option, but nothing should compromise the wellbeing of the students. In the extra ordinary situations, empathy and wellbeing has to prevail. Moreover, school based evaluation be done under meticulously formulated standard guidelines.”