Bhubaneswar: With CBSE and CISCE cancelling Class XII exams, all eyes are now on the Odisha government and what decision it is likely to take with regards to Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE)-conducted annual Plus II Examinations.
The government has so far adopted a wait-and-watch policy after postponing the examination scheduled from May 18.
On May 31, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said the decision hinges on that of CBSE Class XII exams. “The department is awaiting the decision on Class XII examinations of CBSE, which is currently subjudice. We are hopeful of taking a decision in June first week,” he said.
The state has witnessed a drop in daily COVID-19 cases and the government is hopeful that the pandemic situation will improve by next week. But can it risk the lives of the students to hold the exams?
While some students want the exams to be cancelled with the pandemic showing no signs of fizzling out, others feel their hard work will go in vain if it goes the CISCE and CBSE way.
“Only 25 to 30 students of 175 were attending the online classes being held by the college. Many students did not have a good internet connection. Some students did not have devices also. Still, we want to give the exam. We are tensed thinking about our future. We may have trouble in giving entrance examination. We may face difficulties in higher studies,” said Sasanka Sekhar Sahoo, a Plus-II Commerce student of Vyasanagar Autonomous College, Jajpur.
He, however, said that some of his friends are not in favour of the examination being conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are concerned about their safety.
“The number of students attending online classes had decreased to 10 to 14 from 40 in last two months. There are 114 students in our section. However, we were going to college to attend practical classes. We had also submitted assignments. The practical exam could not be conducted from April 27 due to the COVID-19 second wave. With life at risk, we cannot appear for the exam now. The board, however, should consider our performances in Plus II only, especially the assignments, otherwise, our hard work in the last two years will go waste,” said Shruti Jena, a student of Stewart Science College, Cuttack.
The possible evaluation process is also a concern for the students.
“Our Plus II performances in practical papers should be taken into consideration if the exam is cancelled. They should not consider our Class X marks,” said Paresh Das, a Plus-II student of Durga Charan Chilika College in Tangi, Khurda.
The students are also concerned as the 100 days offline classes also could be completed due to the rise in cases. “Several students could not attend the online classes. How does the government expect us to appear for the exam in such a situation?” questioned another student.
Former principal of BJB Junior College Raghu Nath Panda said that the safety of the students was paramount.
“Online examination was not possible due to poor internet connectivity at many places. The CBSE board has an advantage since the schools affiliated with it have completed their practical examinations and they have been doing assessments throughout the year. They can publish result based on those marks. In Odisha, Plus-II colleges have not conducted practical examinations. Our state government is in a quandary on what basis they would promote the students,” he said.
In many colleges in the state, online classes were not possible in the absence of faculty members, he added.
“Since the CHSE has no other option, they can consider Class X examination results and any performances of students for the promotion, which is necessary as they will have to appear in the entrance examination like NEET, JEE Main, NISER, and IISER,” he added.
He advised the student to focus on entrance examinations and practice the old question papers.