VIJAYAWADA: Hours after the Supreme Court made it clear that it would not allow the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct Class XII examinations unless it is convinced and directed all the States to declare Class XII internal assessment results by July 31, Education Minister Audimulapu Suresh announced cancellation of both SSC and Intermediate examinations for the academic year 2020-21 in the State.
“We have decided to cancel the Intermediate exams following the Supreme Court directions to declare the Class XII internal assessment results by July 31. In view of the present situation, the SSC exams have also been cancelled. A high power committee will be constituted to assess the results of Intermediate second year students,” Suresh said.
Briefing the media about the government’s decision on Thursday evening, he said the process of conduct of exams, evaluation of answer scripts and announcement of results would take a minimum of 40 days. Apart from that, we have to announce the schedule at least 15 days before the commencement of exams. All this would take more than 45 days and it would not be possible to complete the entire process of examinations by July 31 as directed by the Supreme Court,” Suresh said.
He said the court also directed the UGC to ensure that the admission process is taken up by colleges only after the CBSE, ISCE and State Boards complete the exam process. “To ensure that our students do not face any difficulty in getting admission into degree courses, we have decided to cancel the Inter exams,’’ he said.
On internal assessment, Suresh said the high power committee would assess the marks based on the guidelines issued by the CBSE. The process of assessment of marks would be announced soon, he said, adding that as of now, practical exam marks of students were only available.Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court made it clear that unless it is satisfied that there will be no fatality due to Covid-19, it would not allow the AP government to hold the exams. The apex court also said it may also look into the aspect of compensation in case of Covid death like in several other States where Rs 1 crore is paid.
The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari asked AP’s standing counsel Mahfooz A Nazki to place before the court the ‘snapshot of the file’ giving reasons to hold the exams. The bench said it was not satisfied with the precautionary measures the State would be taking for holding the exams. If 15 students are accommodated in a class for the exams, the State needs 34,644 rooms and if 18 students are accommodated per class, 28,862 rooms are needed as 5,19,510 students would appear for the Intermediate exams. Tell us from where you get all these rooms, the bench said. It told the counsel not to hold the exams for the sake of exams. “It is not only 5 lakh students giving the exam, more than a lakh people will be involved in the process, including 34,000 supervisors for each room. You have to think about their health and safety also,” the bench pointed out.
It said the State government should keep in mind the impact of the second Covid wave, how fast it spread and how it would cope with the situation if it is hit by the third wave and asked if it has any contingency plan. If you are hit by a third wave or if there is any unwarranted situation, how will you deal with it. We have not seen any such thing in your affidavit, the bench said. When Nazki said the major problem was that students are given only grades in Class X and there is no mechanism to evaluate their performance, the bench suggested that the government consult experts. “You can talk to the UGC, CBSE, CISCE or other States and experts and devise a formula. Despite problems, many States had already cancelled the exams,” the bench said.
On the government not mentioning a timeline for the exams or results, the bench asked the State to specify it to avoid any uncertainty in the minds of students. “You cannot keep things uncertain. If you want to hold the exams, we want a concrete plan by tomorrow. You must know that the first and second Covid waves are different and as per experts the third wave will also be different. Alerts about Delta variant have already been sounded in MP, Maharashtra and Kerala, the bench said.The court asked Nazki to file an affidavit by Friday detailing the complete break-up of things right from students and teachers’ transportation, classrooms and their seating arrangements. If the complete break-up of things was not filed, we would direct you not to hold the exams, the bench said.
SC poses tough questions to State govt
Posing tough questions to the Andhra Pradesh government on its move to conduct Intermediate exams, the Supreme Court said, “We want a concrete plan by tomorrow and how are you going to implement it.”