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Will be able to conduct Class 12 board exams, Andhra Pradesh tells SC, citing declining COVID-19 cases

“Experts have been consulted and they are of the view that it will be feasible to hold the examination. The state accordingly shall endeavour to conduct the examination tentatively in the last week of July 2021. The actual timetable shall be issued shortly and intimated to the students and parents 15 days in advance,” the Andhra Pradesh government said.

June 23, 2021 / 09:56 PM IST

The Andhra Pradesh government on June 23 told the Supreme Court that it will be able to conduct Class 12 exams successfully as there are no reliable alternatives to assess the state board students.

The state government said it will tentatively hold the Class 12 examination in the last week of July and the timetable would be issued shortly.

In its affidavit, filed through standing counsel for the state Mahfooz A Nazki, the state government said that COVID-19 cases are fast declining in the state.

It gave figures of COVID-19 cases for June 20 (5,646), June 21 (5,541), and June 22 (4,169) cases, and compared them with last month's corresponding dates May 20 (22,610), May 21 (20,937) cases, and May 22 (19,981) cases.

“Experts have been consulted and they are of the view that it will be feasible to hold the examination. The state accordingly shall endeavour to conduct the examination tentatively in the last week of July 2021. The actual timetable shall be issued shortly and intimated to the students and parents 15 days in advance,” it said.

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The practical exams have already been conducted from March 31 to April 24, 2021, it said.

The Andhra government said there does not appear to be a reliable alternative to assess Class 12 of the state board Class 10 students are awarded grades instead of marks.

“The board does not have any check or visibility on the internal examinations conducted by various schools. Thus, any assessment based on internal examination in the State of Andhra Pradesh may not yield accurate results,” the state government said.

The state's affidavit, which will be taken up for hearing before a special bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari on Thursday, said that in the common entrance exam (Engineering, Agriculture and Pharmacy Common Entrance Test), 25 percent weight is given to the marks obtained in Class 12.

The top court is hearing a plea seeking directions to state governments to not hold board examinations in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thus, Class 12 results play a crucial role in determining the future of the students,” the Andhra Pradesh government said, adding that "in view of the difficulties coupled with the improving COVID-19 situation, the authorities are of the view that it will be in the best interest of students if the examination is conducted”.

It said a total of 5,19,510 students are scheduled to appear for Class 12 exams and 5,12,959 students are eligible for Class 11 exams.

It said that several precautionary measures will be put in place if the state government is permitted to conduct examinations -- like, Class 12 and Class 11 will be held on alternative days.

It added that Class 11 and Class 12 students are required to appear for five to six subjects only, hence each student will be required to attend the examination for five to six days.

“Only 15 to 18 students will be allotted to each examination Centre,” the state government said while giving details of several precautionary measures it will be taking in view of the COVID pandemic.

"The state is conscious of the difficult situation that it is in. However, under the given circumstances, the State is of the considered view that conduct of the examination shall not only be in the best interest of the students but shall also be conducted safely," it said.

The state government sought permission from the top court to conduct the Intermediate Public Examination 2021 adhering to the precautions.

On Tuesday, the top court had said "If there is any fatality, we will hold the state responsible."

The remark of the top court came after it was informed by the state government of its decision to hold the Class 12 board examination.

The top court was informed that Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are the only two states which have till now decided to hold the Class 12 board examination.

It had told the counsel for Andhra Pradesh that the state government will have to give very good reasons to hold Class 12 board examinations.

The bench said that it will consider the affidavit of the Kerala government on Thursday and asked a students' body of the state to file a counter affidavit to the state government's response.

On Monday, the top court was informed by the Assam and Tripura governments that they have cancelled their state boards for Class 12 students due to the pandemic.

The Counsel for the Karnataka government had said it too has announced that the Class 12 board exam has been cancelled, but no final decision has been taken as far as the Class 10 examination is concerned.

On June 17, the top court was informed that out of 28 states, six states have already conducted the board exams, 18 states have cancelled them, but four states (Assam, Punjab, Tripura, and Andhra Pradesh) have not cancelled them as of now.
PTI
first published: Jun 23, 2021 09:54 pm

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