Citing safety of the students in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has finally decided to cancel the CBSE Class XII board exams. The decision itself is unprecedented, for the Class XII exams are regarded as the gateway to higher education, enabling students to gain admission into an institution of their choice and pursue courses and careers that make them independent and come up in life. The pandemic has already forced many changes in the realm of education, with online classes taking precedence over physical classrooms to keep the clock ticking, and now the impact of the cancellation of exams on the students will also have to be assessed. Absence of offline classes had already left the students with not much outlet by way of extra-curricular activities and social interaction. Hostels too had to be vacated, inconveniencing the students.
The Prime Minister has directed that the results be prepared in accordance with ‘well-defined objective criteria in a fair and time-bound manner’, but practical problems are bound to arise as different schools conduct internal assessment differently. With the CISCE, which does not come under the Education Ministry, also cancelling the Class XII exams and other state boards expected to follow suit, the cancellation is going to affect a large number of students. While it has been decided that students who want to take the exam may be allowed to do so when the situation becomes conducive, it remains all too uncertain.
Coaching institutes have adapted to the new situation by switching to the online medium, but the cancellation of board exams may have an effect on college admissions and counselling schedules, delaying the beginning of a new academic year with concomitant effect on the prospects of students. Like it did earlier, the education system may respond by making suitable alterations, restricting academic sessions and curtailing syllabus. Students too will have to take care not to let down their guard and pursue studies while making adjustments in the methodology required in such times of adversity.