Responding to the high court’s questions raised on May 20, on a petition challenging cancellation of the exams, the state referred to the third wave predicted in July/August and the increased risk posed to children between 10-18 years. As on May 30, over 5.7 lakh children were affected with Covid-19, of which four lakh were between the ages of 11-20 years, it informed.
The state’s reply said the decision to cancel “was and is taken” giving primary consideration to the lives of students, examiners, teaching/non-teaching staff and many involved in conducting the examination.
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Some 16 lakh students have enrolled for the SSC exams which would have been spread over a month and “student and parent would be required to travel 9-10 times from his residence to the place of examination.” “Obviously this transportation and movement of not only the students, but the members of the staff (around four lakh) and the persons accompanying them would expose them to the pandemic,” it added.
The reply said Class XII exams were kept in abeyance and it was thought fit that they “were a relatively more important milestone in the education of the student as their future careers depend upon the same.” The state asserted that Class X and XII exams cannot be compared and the decision of holding or not holding the exams cannot be uniformly applied to both. “There would not be any debate that a student from Std 12 would be more matured, independent, socially aware, bodily and mentally fit as compared to a student of Std 10…It is like comparing an apple with cheese only because both are edible,” the state said.
The reply said though the Std IX final exams could not be conducted, written exams and internal assessment of Std IX are required to be considered for evaluation of Class X students. Also, since SSC exams have been cancelled, it has become necessary to hold CET “to draw up a common merit list” to judge students from SSC, ICSE and CBSE boards. The matter will be heard on Tuesday.