As cases rise, concerns mount over exams

The steadily increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Tamil Nadu has caused concerns about the conduct of the public examinations. While State Board students are to take up the Class 12 examination from May 5, the Board examinations for Class 10 and CBSE 12 are to be held through May.

Over 8 lakh candidates in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry take up the State Board public examinations every year, and several staff members are involved in the conduct of the examinations. Hence any decision would have to consider safety concerns involved and the possible impact on students mentally.

โ€œThe Class 12 public examinations should be postponed at least till June… Apart from the pandemic, the students and teachers will find it difficult to have the examinations in May, during the peak summer,โ€ says T. Arulanandam, State auditor of the Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary School Graduate Teachers Association. On Monday, a circular issued by the Directorate of Government Exams announced the postponement of just the first paper alone, on account of the election results, and said the other examinations would be held as per schedule.

It was less than a month ago that the government asked schools to shut in-person learning for Classes 9-11 after clusters were reported at schools in some districts.

R. Shiva, a teacher of Madura College Higher Secondary School, says that going ahead with the examinations in May could result in case clusters.

โ€œAsking students to attend the board examinations during the pandemic can create anxiety among the students and their parents. How will students from containment zones be able to attend the examinations,โ€ asks another teacher from Sholavandan.

Under the hashtag, #CancelBoardExam2021, several students of CBSE and State Board schools have been highlighting their concerns. For students, it has been a year of uncertainty since schools reopened only in January, having been closed for over 10 months.

โ€œI hope they conduct the examinations within this schedule and do not postpone them,โ€ says Jansi, a Class 12 student of a government school near Vellakinar in Coimbatore. โ€œIf the exam is postponed any further, we may become careless,โ€ she adds.

Teachers who are not for the postponement do not want students to face any more uncertainty. Having completed the truncated portions through classroom sessions since January, teachers in Tiruchi say that conducting the examinations as per schedule, while scrupulously following the safety protocols, will be ideal.

โ€œAs far as the students are concerned, particularly those of the science groups, completion of the public examinations as per schedule will ensure that they have enough time to prepare for entrance exams such as JEE and NEET. Students have to complete omitted portions to take up these tests confidently,โ€ says a science teacher of a school in Tiruchi.

(With inputs from

bureaus in Coimbatore,

Madurai, and Tiruchi)

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