The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to postpone the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams for Class 10, which were scheduled for March 31. The decision was taken as the state is presently in a lockdown, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"All the government and private schools have been closed since March 19 itself as a precautionary measure. It will be difficult for students to go to schools to collect their hall tickets as well as go to the examination centres to take the examination due to non availability of public transport," the Directorate of Government Examinations, Vijayawada said in a press note.
"The students of residential schools have also been made to vacate their hostels and it is difficult for them to reach schools as well as centres," the note added.
Stating that since medical staff as well as police were concentrating on tackling coronavirus and could not be burdened with additional duties at examination centres, the state government decided to postpone the exams for two weeks.
A revised schedule will be announced after March 31.
The move came as a surprise as until Monday, the state was planning to go ahead with the exams. A Government Order (GO) dated March 23 from the School Education Department even accorded permission for transportation of examination material to all the districts. This included question papers, answer booklets and Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets.
Earlier this week, the High Court in neighbouring Telangana also ordered the postponement of the SSC exams in the state after the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government planned to conduct them.
Andhra Pradesh has reported seven positive cases of coronavirus, of whom one person has been discharged. As of Tuesday morning, 220 samples have been tested in the state of which 168 had returned negative and the results of 45 samples are awaited.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting in Amaravati on Monday and appealed to the public to remain indoors as a precautionary measure.
"Despite the need to stay indoors for controlling the spread of the virus, a few people are not following instructions. Strict action will be taken against those who defy the rules," he said.