Giving importance to students’ life over the examination, chief minister Naveen Patnaik ordered cancellation of the examination, also called Plus II examination, a statement issued by the chief minister’s office said.
“Safety of life is utmost priority and everything else comes next. If lives are saved, there would be indefinite possibilities, and civilizations will move forward,” the statement quoted Naveen as saying.
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The government said with consultations from subject experts, students will be evaluated in a time-bound manner. Those not happy with the evaluation may sit in an examination to be held by CHSE when the situation improves.
School and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash said Odisha would like to see the evaluation criteria be adopted by CBSE and ISCE before coming out with their own. Since the Supreme Court on Thursday asked these two exam bodies to place their parameters of evaluation before it within two weeks, Odisha would like to assess how they go about it. “CHSE will come out with criteria so that our students don’t have any disadvantage while competing at the national level,” he said.
Around 3.5 lakh students in arts, science, commerce, and vocational streams were scheduled to appear in the annual examination, which is the last school examination. Pabitra Mahala, president of an association of teachers, said both the Centre and Odisha governments should have come out with an alternative way of conducting the examination quickly whenever the situation changes. “Vaccinating the examinees and their guardians on priority could have been one way before holding the examination. This could have been done much in advance. The students will continue facing problems later in life because they won’t appear in the Plus II examination,” he said.
Pritish Acharya, a professor at the Regional Institute of Education, said Odisha should not have followed the CBSE. Students in CBSE affiliated schools have largely appeared Class XI examination, which can become the basis of their Class 12 results. “However, in CHSE affiliated institutions, there was no class examination for Class XI. Teachers have not seen the students in past one year. How will they evaluate them,” he questioned.
Acharya suggested CHSE could have conducted the online examination or a short duration examination using OMR sheets maintaining social distancing. After plus II, many students leave the study and use the certificate for a job. All those will be affected by the decision to cancel the exam, he said.
Nikhil Pradhan, a Plus II student in Bhubaneswar, welcomed the decision to cancel the examination in the given situation. He, however, said there should be clarity on how the evaluation will be done and how that evaluation will be honoured in future admissions and job markets.