Prime Minister Narendra Modi today surprised a bunch of CBSE students and their parents by logging into an interactive session organised for them by the Union Education Ministry. He shared encouraging words with them, heard out their anxieties, and received their heartfelt thanks for cancelling the board's Class 12 exams for academic year 2021.
PM Modi's June 1 decision was made keeping in mind the prevailing Covid conditions and the students' health and safety.
"I joined you suddenly...Hope I have not disturbed you, you were having fun...it looked like your joy was boundless because the exam was cancelled," the Prime Minister told the students today.
He asked students if they were tensed before the exams and, on their responding positively, stumped them with, "Then my writing the book was futile. I had written in Exam Warrior that you should not get tensed (over exams)."
A few moments of awkward silence later, the exchange took off again.
One child from Guwahati then recalled reading his book and cited some of the suggestions he had made in the book which helped her.
Addressing Hiteshwar Sharma, a student from Panchkula, PM Modi said: "You were a topper in Class 10, and obviously expecting to top Class 12, too. But now that there is no exam, that won't happen."
A thankful Master Sharma responded saying the efforts he put in won't go waste. "The knowledge will remain with us. Someone who has remained consistent will remain the topper whatever new criteria is used now."
The CBSE has said it will now gauge students' progress over the past year based on well-defined objective criteria.
The Prime Minister sought the children's views on those who, in their overconfidence, refuse to wear masks during the pandemic. Some of the participants then cited their own experiences on this front and narrated their work -- street plays and projects -- in creating awareness about the disease and the precautionary measures.
The mother of one of the students, evidently excited about interacting with PM Modi in person, said: "I haven't felt as good on meeting Shah Rukh Khan as I feel today on meeting you."
Soaking in all the praise, the Prime Minister concluded the session emphasising the need for team spirit in the country, which will help overcome challenges of the future, too.
"The Covid period has shown us examples of team spirit...We have faced trouble, but will come out of stronger...that's the message many Indians are giving out," he said.
"I am confident that wherever you go, you will emerge shining and take the country forward," he said, encouraging the youth to use this "Corona period" to help people around them.
Yesterday, PM Modi had elaborated on his decision on Twitter, in the process quoting a few thankful parents and teachers.