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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Education takes an unusual back seat in COVID-19

Everything has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic, be it the education system, health facilities, tourism, even the way of living, etc. And with all these changes happening, students have suffered the most. When the pandemic was at its peak, students were also suffering a lot, and even after the pandemic, students are still suffering. Children who were in high school or intermediate during the pandemic faced a lot of hardships, especially those who were studying in schools affiliated with state boards. This is because their examinations were cancelled due to the pandemic. Except in Bihar, no state was able to conduct the examinations because the Bihar School Examination Board had conducted the 10th and 12th examinations in the month of February 2021, just before the second wave of COVID hit the country.

Like the Bihar Board, other state boards could have also conducted the 10th and 12th examinations, but their governments were actually waiting for Modi Ji to cancel the CBSE Board examinations so that they could also cancel the state board examinations and relax. What kind of solution was this?

If we talk about the UP Board ( Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad ), the case was horrible. There was no seriousness. For the whole year 2020, there were no proper online classes held, no guidance from the teachers was given to the students, and the pre-boards were also not conducted seriously. Schools like Isabella Thoburn Intermediate College, which is affiliated with the UP Board and whose principal says to the students while taking admission that it is a CBSE Board school, had no teacher for subjects like Mathematics, Political Science, and History for more than half a year in 2020. The school forced parents to pay the fee for the whole year, and then for the whole year there were no proper classes held and the pre-board examinations were also not conducted properly. Dr Dinesh Sharma, who was the then Deputy CM of Uttar Pradesh, kept tweeting that the examinations would take place because the government had spent a lot of money on printing the question papers and maintaining the answer sheets. But then why did the UP government cancel examinations as soon as PM Narendra Modi declared the cancellation of CBSE Board examinations on June 1, 2021? Well, it was obvious that examinations had to be cancelled, but then the evaluation of marks had to be formulated in a proper way. In this also, the UP Board printed the marks obtained in class 11th and handed the mark sheets to students. Although they said that marks obtained in pre-board examinations would also be counted, there were many students who did not appear in the pre-board examinations as no proper sanitization facilities were available at the exam centres. Therefore, only the 11th-grade marks were printed on their mark sheets.

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Students studying in schools affiliated with the CBSE and ICSE boards had at least conducted the pre-board examination with full seriousness, which is why students studying in schools affiliated with these boards received satisfactory mark sheets.

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The main problem persisted when the students who passed their 12th had to go further for higher studies because universities like that of Delhi had denied admission based on the entrance in many popular courses like B.A. English Honours, B.Com Honours, etc. The cut-off list of such universities is very high, and many students who were from the UP board and other state boards were not able to get admitted to Delhi University, whereas there were many students from ICSE and CBSE boards who were not that knowledgeable or talented but got admission just because they had good mark sheets, and who knows that the marks were secured by cheating or by actually studying.

If exams were cancelled by the government, then it was the government’s responsibility to ask universities to take admission based on the entrance, so that each student had got the opportunity to prove himself or herself.

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Bhamini Mishra
Bhamini Mishra, Author Worldly Voice

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