The pandemic has disrupted the education curriculum for nearly 15 months since March 2020, including the holding of examinations. CBSE, CISCE, and many state education boards have cancelled or postponed their board exams. CBSE which had earlier postponed the class XII exams is going to undertake a review of the situation on or after June 1, 2021.
The state representatives suggested that all students should be provided with a tablet and internet connections. They also highlighted the growing demand for cancellation of the board exams and said that the states should be consulted before deciding on the issue. The minister then sought suggestions from states.
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Representatives from almost all the states and UTs attended the meeting including additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries, and secretaries of the education department; along with other officials such as the state project directors, director SCERT, etc. This is the biggest meeting held on school education during the pandemic.
Pokhriyal in the meeting stated that despite the pandemic, the Centre and the states, as well as agencies like the National Testing Agency have managed to deliver education online as well as to conduct public exams such as JEE and NEET-UG.
“Our efforts and commitment ensured continuance of education for 240 million students enrolled in our schools and colleges. We have been successful in transforming our homes into classrooms in these unprecedented times. We have also set an example of ensuring that no student faced a year’s loss,” said Pokhriyal.
The minister called for cooperation and a united fight against the pandemic while citing that the country in the middle of the second wave, which is an even bigger challenge than last. “In order to face the new challenges we need to have a joint strategy,” said the minister.
“The second wave has forced the education institutions to remain closed for a longer period. While we have ensured that students are learning at home through various initiatives, we should focus on the needs of the aspirational districts where there is a digital gap so that we can empower the local bodies, NGOs, and the parents and teachers,” said Pokhriyal. The minister urged states and UTs to meet frequently to share best practices during the pandemic.