After episodes of hectic discussions, drives of acquiring opinions from various stakeholders, and rounds of meetings over conducting Class 12 board exams in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has on Saturday announced his final decision and said that the Class 12 board exams in the state will be cancelled this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final decision of cancelling the board exams has come in the albeit of demand from most of the stakeholders including parents and the representatives of the political parties to conduct the exams. The government has been surfaced with large-scale anticipations over its final decision concerning the Class 12 board exams. In an unprecedented fashion, the state government has acquired the opinions from the major political parties to understand their views in conducting the board exams.
As most of the stakeholders had voiced in favour of conducting exams, it was speculated that the exams will be conducted. However, after a long discussion, the government has announced that the board exams will be cancelled this year. In the press release, the government said, "In light of the pandemic, the CBSE has already cancelled the class 12 board exams for this year and several states had also repealed the board exams."
The government said, "In the concern about conducting the board exams in the state, the School Education Minister had carefully acquired the opinions from students, teachers, parents, teachers' union, educationalists, the legislators of various parties, media persons, public health and psychological experts for the past three days. The stakeholders had sounded in favour and against conducting the exams but all of them are affirmed in the opinion of saving the physical and mental health of the students."
It further said, "The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is still posing severity in several parts of the state. The medical experts have warned about the emergence of the third wave of the pandemic. Moreover, as per the current norms, people who are above the age of 18 are allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccines and the students who are below 18 years would be at the state of not applicable for vaccines. The experts had suggested that assembling such students in the same place and at the same time could increase the spread among them."
"Though the government is firm in the policy of considering the board exams as the gateway for the higher education, the further deference of exams could put the students into mental distress. As per the advisory from the medical experts and the suggestions from various stakeholders, the Class 12 board exams are cancelled this year", the statement added.
In order to build criteria to provide marks to the students, the government's statement said, "A panel headed by principal secretary of School Education Department would be formed and the panel will consist of higher education secretary, Vice-Chancellor of Madras University, and headmasters of the schools. This panel will research and formulate the criteria on how the students can be awarded marks and it will furnish the report to the government soon."
"The admission for the higher education including in colleges and universities will be done based on the marks awarded by the criteria." the statement added. The government has said that as the Class 12 board exams are cancelled, it considers that conducting national entrance exams like NEET won't be optimal (in light of the pandemic). The Chief Minister said in a statement, "Though there is no announcement of cancelling NEET, I have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding him to cancel NEET and all the entrance tests for the higher education."
MK Stalin further said, "While the decision of cancelling the board exams is taken with the interest of physical and mental health of the students in light of the pandemic, the Tamil Nadu government will ensure that the admissions for the higher education won't be affected in any way and will be held based on the state school education policy." It must be noted that earlier the Tamil Nadu government has cancelled the board exams for Classes 9 to 11 and declared the students of Classes 1 to 8 all pass in light of the pandemic.