The Central Government decided to cancel the Class 12 Board examinations of the Central Bureau of Secondary Education (CBSE), citing the “safety” of students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aforementioned decision came on the 1st of June.
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The decision to cancel the board exams came from Narendra Modi’s official Twitter handle.
“The Government of India has decided to cancel the Class XII CBSE Board Exams. After extensive consultations, we have taken a decision that is student-friendly, one that safeguards the health as well as the future of our youth.”
As soon as the decision was announced, lots of people on social media made allegations that this could have been done for the youth of the country with the aim to woo them for the 2024 general elections.
Funnily enough, this was not the case a year back. When the Class 12 examinations were canceled last year, due to the pandemic and the lockdown, the decision was made by the CBSE and conveyed to the Supreme Court.
This time around, the decision could have been communicated by the CBSE by a press release, or maybe even by the HRD Ministry on behalf of the Government.
People may be justified in doubting the political intent of the decision. It may have been done to gain political momentum or just a ledge to grab amidst the barrage of criticism the BJP Government is facing in terms of its pandemic handling.
The justification stems from the fact that many BJP supporters gave credit to Modi on social media while Congress supporters said this was done due to the suggestion of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Vadra had written to the Centre to cancel the exam a few days ago. Both sides claimed that this was a win for the safety of students.
Also Read: Bizarre Things Indian Uncles/Aunties Have Said In Support Of Offline Board Exams During COVID-19 Wave
Opposition leaders like Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had also called for the cancellation of the exam. Although the move may have a political undertone, it was the right step forward.
Irrespective of the ulterior motives, the political repercussions have to be looked into. CBSE accounts for a very small fraction of the total number of students giving the Class 12 exam. According to numbers from 2018, close to 1.5 crore students gave the Class 12 exams out of which only 11.9 lakh were under the CBSE board.
ICSE and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) are the two other boards that come under the purview of the board. NIOS accounts for a bigger number than CBSE – a little over 12 lakh according to the 2018 estimates whereas ICSE just had 80,000 students sitting for the class 12 exam.
All of these numbers put together account for a mere 16% of the total student population sitting for the XII board exams.
Does any of this have a huge impact on the political scenario in 2024? Just a mere dent from the power of the youth unless state boards follow suit.
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Sources: The Quint, Hindustan Times, Republic World
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