The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is yet to take a final call on conducting the Class XII board exams. The Centre is expected to take a final decision on the matter soon.
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Priyanka Gandhi said the three-page letter has been written after taking feedback from the students and parents on the issue of holding the Class XII board exams.
“I once again urge you to reconsider holding the CBSE 12th board exams and to consider the suggestions made by them (students and parents) very, very seriously. It will be a great injustice if they are pushed into circumstances that endanger their lives when it is completely unnecessary and it will be a great pity if we let them down at this trying time in their lives,” the Congress leader wrote.
“These children are the future generation of Indians. They have already coped with immense pressure in the last year of their schooling. For much of the year, their schools remained closed, normal interactions with friends that children thrive on have been practically absent. Many contracted Covid-19 themselves and many have lost people they love, family members and friends in this year of tragedy and turmoil,” she added.
Noting that the second wave of the pandemic has been even more devastating and traumatic than the first one, Priyanka Gandhi said, “The unimaginable pain we have suffered collectively as a nation in these last few months will probably be imprinted on the individual and collective psyches of our children for the rest of their lives.
“How can we expect them to set aside all that they are witnessing and focus on their board exams? How can we, as the guardians of their future, refuse to hear their cries of help and turn away from their requests to be heard? In fact, how can we willingly put them in a situation that is potentially dangerous and life threatening for them?”
The Congress leader also said that no lesson has been learnt from events like the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, where the state government had promised that all Covid guidelines would be put in place only to subject the teachers and election officials to crowded spaces where all caution was thrown to the wind.
“Over 1,600 teachers lost their lives for the very same reason that we are now imposing on students of the 12th standard — because they were given no choice but to show up in a situation that endangered their lives,” Priyanka Gandhi wrote in the letter.
She also compiled the suggestions made by the teachers, students and parents, which pointed out that like in other countries, internal assessment should be the basis of grading a student amid the pandemic.
The Congress leader said the very real fear and psychological trauma of the raging pandemic, coupled with prolonged and intense pressure of board exams, can lead to severe mental health issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD.