The Supreme Court of India will hear today, November 18, a petition filed by six students of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) against the two board’s decision to conduct the term 1 exams in offline mode only. The petitioners have requested the top court’s directions to the two boards to hold these exams in a hybrid mode — both online and offline.
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Both CBSE and CISCE are conducting the 2021-22 board exams in two terms. While CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 term 1 exams have already started, ICSE (Class 10) exams will start next week.
The petitioners have argued that offline exams put them at the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“Continuous exposure through offline exams sharply increases the risk of infection to COVID-19 rendering the impugned action as arbitrary and in violation of Right to Health,” they said.
CBSE has divided term 1 papers into two groups — minor and major. Exams for major papers will begin in December.
“Preceding the exams for major subjects in December 2021 are the exams for minor subjects in November 2021 in physical mode, further aggravating the likelihood of turning the exams for major subjects into a super spreader event,” the petitioners said.
Hybrid mode of examination is the need of the hour, as it better facilitates social distancing, reduced strain on logistical constraints, they added.
The petitioners said many parents have reported that consent for allowing their children to sit for the exams is being secured “ by resorting to misrepresentation and coercion. ”Obtaining consent without giving a choice is “ex-facie arbitrary and illegal”, they said.