In a meeting on 1st June 2021, chaired by the Prime Minister of India, it has been decided to cancel 12th board exams. Reacting to the decision, Mr. Sourav Ghosh, General Secretary of AIDSO stated:

“The extraordinary situation that has arisen due to complete failure of the BJP-led central government and different state governments in taking timely and necessary measures right from the beginning in containing the spread of deadly COVID-19 has completely jeopardized the lives of common people in all aspects. This has also resulted in a complete chaotic situation in educational institutions ever since the beginning of the pandemic.

While AIDSO has been demanding that in this situation, following the democratic process, discussions should be organized with different state boards, students’ representatives, teachers’ representatives, eminent educationists and medical fraternity to decide about teaching, examinations, evaluation and rescheduling of academic calendar, the government on the contrary has completely neglected this demand and has been acting unilaterally while taking decisions.

Now, during this 2nd wave of pandemic, while the government had sufficient time to discuss the issue of conduction of the examinations and evaluation and could evolve a scientific evaluation system but due to the criminal negligence of the government the issue had not been resolved. Therefore, in this worsening situation of pandemic as students’ safety should be of prime concern the students, parents and teachers were left with no other option than to demand ‘No Exam During Pandemic. ‘Though the central government to save its face had hastily announced the decision by buckling under the rising demand in several states, they did it unilaterally and undemocratically.

Further the central government took the decision to cancel the exams without providing for alternative method of evaluation which has caused much anxiety among students. Students are also worried about the admission to higher courses as there is no clear guideline on conduction of different type of entrance tests and other kind of admission process to enter Higher Educational Institutions. Again, since condition of different states vary, it was very important that on the issue of examinations and evaluation steps should have taken following democratic procedures to ensure a uniform, non-discriminatory, scientific and transparent solution for all students in compliance with the COVID-protocol. It should have also ensured vaccination to the students of the age group for which vaccination is approved by the medical experts across the world as well as to teachers and other staff. We understand that only by this way, in such a vast country having different situations in different states, the anxiety of students and parents could have been addressed which unfortunately the government has failed to do so.

As the situation of Covid pandemic is beyond control in most of the states and no examination can be conducted we demand that:

1) To put an end to the anxiety of students and parents, immediately initiate a dialouge with different state boards, students’ and teachers’ organisations, their associations, parent’s association and medical fraternity to devise an alternative way of evaluation which should be uniform, non-discriminatory, scientific and transparent for all students.

2) Start vaccinating students free of cost and take it up on war-footing so as to complete the process before commencement of schools and colleges. Ensure vaccination for all students including teachers and other staff who come under the age group as prescribed by the medical experts across the world.

3) Keeping in mind the financial crisis faced by common people, waive off fees for all students for this academic year.

We also call upon students in particular and teachers, parents, educationists and all education loving people of this country in general to oppose this undemocratic way of making decisions by the BJP-led central government and other state governments.

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