The Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) and Pre-University (PU) students of Karnataka staged a protest on Thursday, demanding that the state government cancel their board examinations. Students expressed concerns about writing exams in the current situation due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Additionally, the students cited the cancellation of class 10 and 12 exams for Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) by the Union Government.
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) had cancelled class 12 exams for ICSE and CBSE after a meeting was held with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The class 10 Exam was also cancelled by the CISCE for CBSE and ICSE long back on April 16.
Several students that TNM spoke to expressed a lack of preparedness for exams. Many said that their syllabus was incomplete and no revisions were done. â€śBefore, our lecturers used to revise the important parts of the syllabus before exams but this time they didn't even complete the syllabus, forget revision. With only this much taught, I'm unsure how I will be able to face exams,â€ť said a Second PU student from Bengaluru.
The other difficulty that students expressed was that it would be unfair to students in the state syllabus if they had to write exams but the students of the two other central syllabuses didnâ€™t have to. This problem according to students gets compounded as the students couldnâ€™t properly participate in classes both online and offline due to the second wave of COVID-19.
â€śOne general issue we have is that online classes are difficult to understand. Even when offline classes were conducted in January and February, they rushed the syllabus and we couldnâ€™t understand. The other issue some faced including me was that they had to deal with family emergencies. I lost my sister to COVID-19 and many of my friendsâ€™ parents also became ill due to the disease. In this kind of circumstance, is it really possible to write exams?â€ť questioned Shreya, a second PU student and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) aspirant from Kalaburagi.
She added, â€śSince ICSE and CBSE exams were cancelled, those students (ICSE and CBSE students) have already started preparing for NEET. If the government doesnâ€™t cancel exams, then we will have to write our board exam and then NEET. One thing is that we will find it hard to write this exam. The other is that they (ICSE and CBSE students) would have had more time to prepare and will definitely do better. Is this not unfair? Donâ€™t we deserve to be put on equal footing?â€ť She added that the exams have to be postponed immediately because if it is not, they will be left in a state of limbo not knowing whether to prepare for the board exams or NEET.
Recounting the experience of the previous year Ashwini KS, the state president of All India Democratic Organization said that PU students just had the English exam remaining before lockdown but had to write the exam afterwards. According to her, when the students had to go write exams under pressure with masks and face shields, they couldnâ€™t score good marks in that one subject causing their grades to fall, in turn missing opportunities.
Speaking about the difficulties faced by SSLC students she said, â€śLast year we saw that admissions had been opened but by the time SSLC students got their results, most of the college seats were filled up already with CBSE and ICSE students as they didnâ€™t have to write exams and got their results early. This is basically discrimination against students studying the state syllabus.â€ť
Further, she criticised the move of the government and called it undemocratic and discriminatory. â€śIn a democratic country such as ours, the governments should not take such decisions that affect many students. This is an extraordinary circumstance we are facing and the governments had to take the opinion of experts and all stakeholders before deciding. The government should not take decisions that create this kind of discrimination. We from AIDSO condemn this move and demand the state government to immediately cancel board examinations of SSLC and PU,â€ť she added.