New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Smriti Irani and Prakash Javadekar on Sunday held a high-level meet with education ministers of all states and union territories (UTs) to discuss the conduct of class 12 board exams amid the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Following the "fruitful" meet, Pokhriyal said that he asked the states, UTs and other stakeholders to send their "detailed and valuable" suggestions by May 25 after which the Centre would take a decision regarding the conduct of the exams.

"We'll be able to arrive at an informed, collaborative decision regarding Class 12th board exams and remove uncertainty among students and parents by informing them of our decision at the earliest. Both students' and teachers' safety is supremely important to us," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

CBSE gives 2 options to conduct board exams 2021

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Sunday gave two options to conduct the class 12 board exams, which have been postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Under the first option, the exams would be conducted in the present format but only for the major subjects while marking for the rest of the subjects will be done based on the performance in these papers.

While under the second option, exams would be conducted in students' home schools. However, in this case, the duration of the exams would be reduced to 1.5 hours and the exam pattern would be changed to multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and short questions.

States ask Centre to cancel exams

Meanwhile, several states, Delhi and Maharashtra, asked the central government to cancel the exams keeping the current situation in mind. The states said that a third wave is expected to hit India later, adding that the safety of the students should be the utmost prority.

"In today's meet with CBSE, we discussed that providing safe environment for students is our priority. We will tell the SC that last year was unfortunate for students. 2nd COVID-19 wave is going on and an anticipated 3rd wave is yet to come," Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad was quoted as saying by ANI.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also urged the Centre to cancel the exams, saying the AAP government is not in favour of the CBSE exploring options to conduct the Class 12 board examinations and going ahead with the process without vaccinating the students will prove to be a big mistake.

"Conducting the examination by toying with students' safety will prove to be a big mistake. First vaccine, then exams. There are over 1.5 crore Class-12 students across the country and 95 per cent of them are above the age of seventeen-and-a-half years. The Centre should talk to experts if they can be given the Covishield or Covaxin vaccines," Sisodia was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma