Should Tamil Nadu cancel state board exams? Mixed reactions from parents

Meanwhile, teachers are also concerned with cases of COVID-19 being reported among their peers.
Students attending an exam amid pandemic
Students attending an exam amid pandemic
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As coronavirus cases surge across the country, the news that CBSE 12th board exams have been cancelled, has evoked mixed reactions among parents and students. The CBSE board on April 14 said that 10th standard exams are being cancelled and that a decision on 12th board exams will be taken after June. While a few states have announced cancellation of state board exams, the Tamil Nadu government has not made such a move yet. As per the timetable released by Tamil Nadu government, the public exams are scheduled to be conducted from May 5 to May 31. A section of parents whose wards study in these schools want even revision exams to be cancelled, while others feel online classes and revisions should go on.   

A parent of a Class 12 student in a Chennai-based government school said, “All schools should be shut and revision exams should be cancelled. The officials after consultation should also mull on cancelling the Class 12 board exams completely since we cannot risk sending our children amid an outbreak. Many children live in containment zones.”

“My son is feeling tired on certain days and hesitates to go to school since he is seeing cases increasing in our vicinity. Also, it is difficult for him and teachers to ensure physical distancing and compulsory wearing of masks all the time. So schools must first stop operating,” she said.
Echoing a similar view, another parent from Chennai said, "The government should cancel the exams since my son is not studying in a school that is an exam centre. We are forced to send him to another school and there will be no clarity on the sanitation measures undertaken there. So the board exams should be cancelled."

However, if the government is still planning to conduct the exams, the parent added that it should be conducted in the same school or offline. "I'm hearing that some of the students in my son's school have fever, so I am afraid he will contract the virus," she said.

However, this view is not shared by many other parents, especially from places where the number of cases being reported are low.  A mother of a Class 12 student from Villupuram said that regular classes can be held online but revision exams should be conducted offline. “My son is studying in the science group (Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics) and it is important that he attends the revision exam. So I want him to attend online classes and study at home while he can go to school to attend the revision exams,” she said. The parent however added that a decision to cancel exams for now would be a welcome one. 

Meanwhile, teachers are also concerned with cases of COVID-19 being reported among their peers. A teacher working in a school in Royapuram Corporation zone said, “We are continuing to operate even after one of our staffers tested positive for COVID-19. She fell ill and stopped coming to work and three days later she tested positive for the virus.”

“We have fumigated the place and are still running classes for 12th standard students. However, we are scared that this may turn out to be an adverse event for the students who will have to attend the Class 12 public exams at some point,” she said.

Tamil Nadu government on April 12 postponed the language paper for Class 12 from May 3 to May 31. The exams were postponed since the examination was scheduled on the next day after counting of votes for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections on May 2.

As of Wednesday, Tamil Nadu recorded 7,819 new cases of coronavirus taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 54,315. The state witnessed 25 deaths at government and private hospitals. Among the districts, Chennai witnessed the highest number of positive cases with 2,564 people testing positive for the virus followed by Chengalpattu (772) and Coimbatore (540) districts.

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