Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) today, June 18, 2021, announced the cancellation of Class 10 and 12 board exams for the academic year 2020-21. This decision supposedly comes due to the CBSE’s decision to cancel the Class 12 board exams in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to cancel the Assam Class 10 and 12 board exams comes after the Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu conducted a meeting with the stakeholders and representatives of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) as well as All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU).
Initially, Assam had complete intentions of conducting the Class 12 boards exams. Approximately 7 lakh students were scheduled to appear for the Class 10 and 12 board exams 2021. Reportedly, AHSEC had sent a proposal to the state education department regarding certain changes that can be introduced in this year’s exams. Rather that six subjects, AHESEC wanted the education department to reduce it to three for Class 12. Moreover, Class 10 students could appear for five rather than six exams. The basic intention was to ease the academic pressure on students, especially amid the current circumstances.
The state, however, was adamant about conducting the Class 10 and 12 boards exams. In fact, it was positive that the state health department would soon give a nod to conducting the board exams after the COVID-19 positivity rate in Assam would drop below 2 per cent. The reason being that the pandemic situation had improved drastically within the state. Assam had also been one of the 32 states and UTs to support the union government in the conduction of offline board exams.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) also had full intentions of conducting the Class 12 boards exams in mid-July or August 2021. The exact exam schedule was to be decided based on when the COVID-19 situation stabilises in the country. Thus, it came as a surprise when the central education board decided to scrap the board exams and instead, resort to alternate evaluation methods.
Previously, the Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma had announced that the decision on Class 12 board exams would be taken once CBSE announced its objective criteria. On June 17, 2021, CBSE went on to announce its objective criteria in front of the Supreme Court and the latter accepted the terms. Two days later, the Assam education department took the final call. The state education minister Ranoj Pegu announced the cancellation of the Class 12 and 10 exams. However, he commented that the state shall wait for CBSE to announce its evaluation modalities before announcing its decision.
The state education department was considering both options – to conduct board exams or to cancel them. However, students were continuously demanding the cancellation of exams amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision in the end, ruled in their favour today.