Noting that it was happy with the cancellation of the Class XII board exams in view of the pandemic, the Supreme Court has rightly observed that the matter needed to be resolved at the earliest as it involved the future of students. The CBSE and CISCE have been asked to place on record in two weeks a well-defined objective criteria for the assessment of students as the court wants to go through the parameters to deal with objections and dispel the uncertainty clouding the prospects of those wishing to seek admissions in colleges in India and abroad. There are already apprehensions over the criteria to be adopted for assessment as it may cut both ways with those expecting to do well in the exams finding their expectations belied while others faring better than expected. With schools trying to ensure that their students do well, the stiff competition at the time of admissions is unlikely to ease because of the easy evaluation expected.
The government may have had a point in cancelling the exams because of the concerns over the health and safety of children amid fears of a possible third wave. Panchkula boy Hiteshwar Sharma told PM Modi during an interaction with the students that he was happy that the PM had considered the well-being of the students more than anything else during the pandemic, but felt bad when he came to know about the cancellation of exams because he expected to be a topper.
States like Punjab and Tamil Nadu have so far not cancelled the exams amid allegations that it was an attempt by the Centre to implement the New Education Policy through the backdoor. Also, how the state boards will reconcile grading of their students with that of the CBSE and CISCE remains to be seen. With the pandemic affecting the education system drastically, some of the changes could well be here to stay with even the entrance exams for major competitions making changes in schedule and pattern. The challenge for the student community will be to stay safe and continue to prepare to attain future goals.