Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has joined a growing chorus of students, parents and politicians who have been demanding that the Class 12 board exams be put off until students are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"Students and parents are concerned about Class 12 exams. They think that Class 12 exams must not be conducted without full vaccination. I appeal to the Central government that the Class 12 board exams must be cancelled, and students should be evaluated based on their previous performance," Mr Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
As a deadly second wave of Covid infections ravaged the country, the Centre had announced that the CBSE Class 10 exams would not be held this year as well. It had deferred the Class 12 exams, saying a decision would be announced today.
The CBSE and the CISCE - two of the country's biggest education boards - were contemplating cancelling the exams or exercising other options, news agency PTI reported last week.
Earlier, the CBSE had proposed two options for the Class 12 board exams - conducting regular exams only for major subjects or holding short-duration exams at schools. The proposed timeline for conducting the gigantic exercise was between July 15 and August 26.
Responding to a petition filed on behalf of students, the Centre today told the Supreme Court that it will take a decision regarding the exams in a few days. The next hearing is on June 3.
Several politicians, including Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav and senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, have demanded that the exams be cancelled as the second wave has not fully receded and the level of vaccination in the population is very low. Class 12 students, mostly below 18, are not even eligible for inoculation.
Schools and colleges have mostly remained shut since the pandemic hit the country last March. Most educational institutions have been taking online lessons. Experts warn that the lack of regular education may hamper proper human resource development.