State’s school education minister Varsha Gaikwad did not deny the possibility of postponement. Gaikwad said, “I can’t say anything at this moment but, yes, a final decision will be taken this week itself. I will meet with various stakeholders and see what their views are about exams. Then we will have to seek the consent from chief minister’s office (CMO) as well regarding the final proposal.”
Gaikwad, who herself is a qualified teacher with a master’s degree in education, said, “We have to plan for contingencies. So ‘Plan A’ is basically what has been shared with everyone already. Here we have given sops like extra time, home centres, and guidelines on second attempt.”
Similarly her ‘Plan B’ and ‘Plan C’ look at the steps to take if cases continue to rise. “The rising number of Covid-19 cases is a major cause for concern. And we have to consider board exams of CBSE etc which will be held within the state’s jurisdiction. So we are finalizing Plan B and C to accommodate all these concerns. For this, views of domain experts are being taken and after that, a proposal shall be put up before the CMO,” said the minister.
Academics too are supporting the plan, citing ‘high infection rates’. President of School Headmasters’ Charitable Association Zafar Khan said, “We urge the government to postpone the exams for at least a month and then take a further review based on the number of cases. I have been interacting with many parents and they all say that the risk to their child’s health will increase if exams are held.” He added that many parents will use the facility of ‘second attempt’ even if exams are not postponed. “The state government has guaranteed a second attempt in June to any student who misses the exam. So parents will claim that their ward had fever on exam day and simply fill the form for the June attempt,” said Khan.
On Tuesday, Gaikwad will meet with officials to review the situation and is expected to make a formal announcement by Friday.