The petition by the teachers’ association is the latest among the slew of other petitions seeking the postponement of the class 10 board exams scheduled for June 15.

School students in clasroomsImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Education Wednesday, June 03, 2020 - 18:28

A teachers’ association in Tamil Nadu has moved the Madras High Court seeking to defer the class 10 board examinations by two months.

This petition is the latest among the slew of other petitions seeking to reschedule the class 10 board exams scheduled to be held on June 15.

Listing the objections, the Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary School Graduate Teachers Association said that refresher classes should be conducted before the exam since the underprivileged students will not be able to attend online cases.

Why it should be rescheduled

According to the reports, Bakthavatchalam, president of the Association and the main petitioner, said there are 12,548 schools identified by the Tamil Nadu School Education Department to conduct board exams and as per the order, only 10 students should be seated in a classroom, which means, for 9.79 lakh class 10 students across the state, 97,000 classrooms are required.

Frequent sanitation of the about one lakh classrooms is also impossible and the lack of sanitation can also endanger the lives of students, teachers and families, the petition stated. 

According to the petition, many teachers on examination duty are stuck in their native places, so they are unable to reach their schools amidst the lockdown. The petitioner also said that the government will press 2.3 lakh invigilators into classes 10 and 12 exam duties. 

The policemen, parents and drivers everyone involved in the examination will be forced to face hardships, if the government conducts the exam as per the schedule.  

Uma, a high-school teacher, pointed out that the COVID-19 cases in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts are increasing and there are only 12 days for the exam. “Within those days, the cases will only increase. So, the parents and the students will definitely be under stress and fear of contracting the virus,” she told TNM.

Besides, this year, students are studying a new syllabus and they are worried. “The pandemic scare will only add to the pressure the children face. We should provide at least two weeks of classroom revision," said Uma.   

She further explained why the exam must be rescheduled. "Most of the students come from underprivileged backgrounds, so they won’t even get proper nourishment. How will they be prepared mentally and physically?" she asked. "Communication between government school children and the school administration will be a problem as these many would not have phones, and even if they have, the number won't be reachable most of the time. If that is the case, how can children come and take the exam; most of them may be forced to skip the exam," she said.

However, Nanda Kumar, Head of Matriculation Parent Teacher Association, differs and said that the exam should be conducted as scheduled, on June 15. "The exams will be over in five days; postponing the exams will only create mental stress among students. So the government can conduct the exam and bring an end to the pressure faced by the students,” said Nanda. 

A Mayavan, founder-president of Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary School Graduate Teachers' Association, reiterated, "We are not telling the government to not conduct the exams, but to conduct it once the severity of coronavirus reduces."

The petitioner also shared his dissatisfaction that the teachers were not consulted on holding exams as suggested by the central government.

Meanwhile, the High Court has sought a comprehensive status report on the group of petitions, including the one filed by educationalist Vasanthi Devi, and has postponed the case to June 11 for hearing. 

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