Covid: Assam to take final call on board examinations on June 18
Assam will take the final call on holding the board examinations for Classes X and XII on June 18, eight days after the state government had asserted it will hold the exams.
The government on Wednesday left the final decision to the education department after the state cabinet recommended it was not permissible to conduct the High School Leaving Certificate (matric), Assam High Madrassa and Higher Secondary examinations due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the state.
Active Covid cases and deaths have been falling in Assam since June but the state government, while revising the standard operating procedures on Tuesday, extended the curfew-like restrictions till June 22 because the overall situation remained “precarious”.
Assam had 39,837 active cases with a positivity rate of 2.57 per cent till Tuesday.
After the weekly meeting on Wednesday, education minister Ranoj Pegu said the cabinet recommendation was based on a presentation by the health department on the Covid-19 situation.
The presentation revealed about 25,000 girls and boys aged between 11 and 18 years contracted Covid-19 since May, 10 per cent of the total people infected during this period.
The final decision would be taken on June 18 at a meeting of the education department and various other stakeholders, Pegu said.
Health minister Keshab Mahanta said over seven lakh candidates were to appear for the exams scheduled for May but they got put off because of the alarming rise in Covid cases.
“Over and above the candidates, we will have an equal number of parents/guardians or more accompanying their wards to the exam centres, the requirement of teachers and other staff, transport and security personnel. Given the rate of infection and the gathering expected on exam days, it is not permissible to hold the examinations,” Mahanta said.
On June 8, Pegu’s categorical assertion to hold the final examinations came amid a call to cancel them as was done by the CBSE and several states owing to the Covid situation.
An intervention application (WP (C) 620 of 2021) has also been filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the students of Assam, seeking cancellation of Classes X and XII board examinations in the state.
The application stated that it will be just, reasonable and equitable that the examinations are cancelled to ensure the mental health of students as well as equality among students of various boards.
According to health minister Mahanta, five districts — Cachar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sonitpur and Nagaon — are under close watch as they are reporting a high number of positive cases.
“The district administrations have been told to take all possible steps to bring the number (of cases) down. If not, we will have to go for complete lockdown,” Mahanta said.
Till now, the government has managed with a partial lockdown.
Night curfew was relaxed in nine of the 34 districts, between one hour (in Kamrup metro) and four hours from Wednesday.
However, all inter-district transport and movement of people remained suspended.