The Karnataka government on Friday decided that second-year pre-university (PU) examinations for the current academic year will be cancelled and the students will be assessed on the basis of their first year PU marks. However, the state government has decided to hold the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination and the exam will likely be held in the third week of July. No one will be marked as failed, Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said. "Since we don’t have previous assessment models for these students, it is inevitable for us to somehow evaluate their performance and hence a most simple solution has been formulated," the minister told the media on Friday.
The minister also announced a change in format of the SSLC examination — students will only have two examinations. The first examination will be on core subjects — Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences will be clubbed in one paper and the second examination will be on languages. These papers will be multiple-choice questions of 120 marks each — each subject will be for 40 marks. Only one question paper containing all the three core subjects totalling 120 marks will be provided. This will have Maths, Science and Social Science divided into three parts. The examination would be held for a three hour time between 10.30 and 1.30 on a designated day. A three-day gap between each examination would be provided. The minister said that model question papers will be made available to students before their examinations. Grades will be awarded as A B and C based on the marks, the minister added.
The fresh dates of the SSLC exams and the timetable will be announced 20 days before the examination will be held. The students who are not able to appear for exams due to COVID-19 will be examined on a later date. Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar has announced that at the examination centre, students will be provided with N95 masks and the government will ensure SOPs are followed.
The Education Minister announced that SSLC exams will be conducted in 6,000 examination centres across Karnataka and the state will be liberal with requests from migrant students or hostel dwellers for change of the allotted centre. Only 12 students per room would be accommodated and only one student per desk will be there. At least a six feet distance will be maintained between each student, the Minister said. The government also said it will be mandatory for all teachers involved in examination work to compulsorily get vaccinated.
Speaking to the media during a virtual interaction, Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said that PU-II students, who will be graded on the basis of their first-year results, who have grievances over their grades, can approach the government and the state will allow them to appear for an examination at a later date.
The Karnataka government’s decision comes days after the Union government announced that Class 12 board examinations will be cancelled, and many state governments followed suit, cancelling board exams in their states as well. However, the Karnataka government had then said that Class 12 board examinations will be held in the state. On May 14, the government announced that the exams will likely be held in July or August. On May 23, Education Minister S Suresh Kumar had said that it was important to conduct the board examination for Class 12 taking into consideration the future of the students.
The CBSE and the CISCE boards had last week cancelled Class 12 Board exams over the COVID-19 pandemic after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who asserted that the decision has been taken in the interest of students and that the anxiety among students, parents and teachers must be put to an end. The call was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Modi in which it was decided that the CBSE will take steps to compile the results of class 12 students as per well-defined objective criteria in a time-bound manner. Several states across India had after this cancelled Class 12 board examinations.
Students of the state board in Karnataka had protested on June 3 asking that the exams be cancelled. The students had expressed their concerns over appearing for the examination amid the pandemic’s second wave. Meanwhile, they also pointed out that it would be unfair of the government to ask the students to appear for examinations when CBSE and ICSE exams are cancelled.
Karnataka is under lockdown until June 14. The lockdown was first announced on April 26 following the sudden spurt in cases in Karnataka. Karnataka's COVID-19 technical advisory committee had said in its report that the ongoing lockdown restriction can only be eased once the positivity rate falls below five per cent and the number of cases should be reported below 5,000 a day across the state.
Karnataka continued to witness a slight increase in daily cases of COVID-19 as the state on Thursday reported 18,324 fresh infections, taking the tally to 26.53 lakh. The day also saw 24,036 discharges, continuing to outnumber the fresh cases. The state had reported 14,304 and 16,387 fresh cases on June 1 and June 2 respectively. With 514 deaths the toll in the state went upto 30,531.