New Delhi: Panic has been a byproduct of the lack of sufficient medical facilities for patients as the number of COVID-19 patients rise steeply in the country. Amidst this, students and even politicians have been demanding cancellation of the CBSE class 10 and 12 board examinations.
As per the date sheet for the CBSE board exams 2021, the class 10 exams are scheduled between May 4 and June 7 and the class 12 exams are scheduled between May 4 and June 15.
CBSE, however, has assured the students that all necessary precautions will be taken during the exams to ensure safety. Dr Sanyam Bhardwaj, CBSE’s controller of exam, recently advised students to continue their preparation and not believe rumours, which is indicative of the fact that CBSE has not yet considered postponing the exams. However, students are not convinced.
Protesting students have taken to the internet to explain why the exams must be either conducted online or postponed in the wake of the second wave of coronavirus. Some of the hashtags being used by students are #CancelBoardExams2021, #PahlJaanPhirExams (Life over exams) and #Justiceforstudents.
Maharashtra education minister Varsha Gaikwad on Monday announced the postponement of SSC (class 10) and HSC (class 12) exams conducted by the state board. Gaikwad, on her official Twitter handle, also said the government will write to CBSE, ICSE and other boards to reconsider their exam dates as well.
📢 Imp Announcement: Given the current #COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, we’ve postponed state board exams for class 10th & 12th. The present circumstances are not conducive for holding exams. Your health is our priority. #PariskhaPeCharcha #HSC #SSC #exams (1/5) pic.twitter.com/cjeRZAT7ux
— Varsha Gaikwad (@VarshaEGaikwad) April 12, 2021
A meme fest
CBSE students, demanding postponement, took to Twitter and posted memes to explain their predicament. Here are some examples:
Varsha gaikwad postponed maharashtra board exam
— ๛MR亗SAURABH亗 (@im_saurabhyadav) April 12, 2021
— Siddhant (@Siddhan02952115) April 9, 2021
Government: exam will be offline
Le some harami student: pic.twitter.com/UzsjYCwMsg
— Dark Thoughts (@ni8_thought) April 12, 2021
— Tanishq (@Tanishq13832141) April 9, 2021
— Anika❣️ (@Its_anika786) April 7, 2021
— Rajat Kandpal (@i_rajatkandpal) April 12, 2021
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said that CBSE must reconsider its decision to conduct exams amid the second wave of the coronavirus. “In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting #CBSE exams must be reconsidered. All stakeholders must be consulted before making sweeping decisions. On how many counts does GOI intend to play with the future of India’s youth?” he wrote.
In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting #CBSE exams must be reconsidered. All stakeholders must be consulted before making sweeping decisions.
On how many counts does GOI intend to play with the future of India’s youth?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 11, 2021
Earlier, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also written a letter to education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to reconsider board exam dates amid a rising number of COVID cases.
देश भर में कोरोना के बढ़ते मामलों के बीच छात्रों व उनके अभिवावकों ने CBSE परीक्षा 2021 को लेकर कुछ वाजिब चिंताएं जाहिर की हैं।
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) April 11, 2021
Vadra added that lakhs of students and parents were anxious about what would happen if they got together in exam centres for the CBSE board exam during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that apart from the students, the teachers, invigilators and parents who will come in contact with the students would also be at risk.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also requested the Centre to consider cancelling the CBSE board exams 2021 for classes 10 and 12. “Six lakh children in Delhi are going to write CBSE exams. Nearly one lakh teachers will be a part of it. These can become major hotspots leading to the large-scale spreading of Corona. Children’s lives and health is very important to us. I request Centre to cancel CBSE exams,” Kejriwal said.
6 lakh children in Delhi are going to write CBSE exams. Nearly 1 lakh teachers will be a part of it. These can become major hotspots leading to large-scale spreading of Corona. Children's lives & health is very important to us. I request Centre to cancel CBSE exams: Delhi CM pic.twitter.com/EyqDfseoMU
— ANI (@ANI) April 13, 2021
Not all fun and memes
However, not all students are using funny memes to express their fear and insecurities related to the board exams. Some are also posting information and listicles to help their cause.
A Twitter user posted a list of reasons why the government should cancel the board exams. “Cases are rising,” is the first reason cited in the listicle. Other reasons include the cancellation of exams by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Lack of facilities among poor students is also cited as one of the reasons.
“We are going to vote in 2024” and “We are the future generation and if there is no WE there will not be a future,” are the other reasons mentioned in the listicle.
— Games On (@evil_own) April 9, 2021
CM @bhupeshbaghel SIR Students NE Aapko itne Gyapan Diye Lekin Aapne 10th ka Exam postponed kar Diye Lekin Online Exam ka liye KUCH naI kiye I Request All Ministers Please Support STUDENTS
Do not endanger the life of students#cancelboardexam2021 #cancelboards2021
— ASHUTOSH (@ASHUTOS26759362) April 12, 2021
— Anujmeena12 (@Anujmeena121) April 9, 2021
— Satyam Singh (@SatyamS90702332) April 9, 2021
Please help us 3 million students of India who are being forced to give offline exams when COVID-19 is at it's peak . One year of online classes where no good due to poor infrastructure . Please help to raise our voice!!!#cancelboards2021 #cancelboardexam2021 pic.twitter.com/rqsMIxgboT
— Hunny🍁 (@Himanshu_824) April 7, 2021
We don't know under what mental health a student is goings as many families are facing financial crises due to covid and cases are rising again.
Exams are important in india not the health of students@narendramodi@cbse#cancelboardexams2021#noexams pic.twitter.com/a9D0xS8wOB
— Sohum Bhatia (@BhatiaSohum) April 7, 2021
We students can't be your testing rats…please don't do this with us…we want the exams to be postpone till normal conditions in india🙏🙏#cancelboardexams2021 #cancelboards2021 #ExamWarriors pic.twitter.com/MDFSJemenk
— Parth (@Parth94870563) April 7, 2021
Lack of safety measures for travelling to exam centre
Prerna Roy, a resident of West Bengal’s Asansol, studies in Sunabeda Public School of Koraput district of Orissa. She is currently in class 12 and preparing for her board exams scheduled for next month. But her biggest worry is travelling from West Bengal to her examination centre in Odisha.
“It will take me at least four days to reach my exam centre by train. The usual train that I used to take would take only two days but it is currently suspended. Now we will have to change two to three trains to get there,” she told The Wire.
She lives with her mother and younger brother. “Because my father is not alive, my uncle will have to go with me to Odisha for the exams. He is 40 plus and is at risk of getting the virus. He may not agree to take me for the exam, why will he put his life at risk? I may have to leave my exams if they do not get postponed,” Roy said, crying.
“Since my mother is a housewife, I must get into college soon and start earning money so I can run the household without having to depend on others,” she added.
She also said that if the government did not raise any objection to the ill-equipped online classes being conducted for the past one year, they should move the examinations online too.