After CBSE cancels exam, West Bengal Govt forms expert panel on holding Board exams

According to sources, a decision on whether to hold the state board exams will be taken once the expert committee submits its report.

A day after the CBSE and the CISCE cancelled their Class 12 board examinations, a cloud of uncertainty continued to hover over the fate of the West Bengal board exams.

Top officials of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) and the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) Wednesday cancelled a scheduled joint press meet where they were supposed to announce their decision on the scheduling of the Madhyamik (Class 10) and Higher Secondary (Class 12) exams this year.

However, holding out hope of the exams being scheduled at a later date, the state government Wednesday formed a six-member expert committee to suggest ways of conducting the exams and evaluating papers during the Covid-19 situation. The panel has been asked to submit its report to the government within 72 hours.

The School Education Department issued a notice, saying, “In view of prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation, the Writ Petition filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India regarding conduction of Higher Secondary Examinations and the decision taken by CBSE and CISCE Boards to cancel the Higher Secondary Examinations 2021, the competent authority in the State Government has decided to constitute an expert committee to review and evaluate the current situation read with the outcome of the Writ Petition filed before Hon’ble Supreme Court and to submit its recommendations within 72 hours to the State Government in the School Education Department.”

According to sources, a decision on whether to hold the state board exams will be taken once the expert committee submits its report. WBBSE president Kalyanmoy Ganguly, WBCHSE president Mohua Das and Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Ananya Chakraborty will be a part of the expert committee.

The Centre, Tuesday, decided to cancel the class 12 board exam of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in view of the pandemic situation. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Later in the day, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) scrapped its Class 12 ISC exams as well.

On May 25, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the state board exams for class 12 will be held in the last week of July and the one for class 10 will be scheduled in mid-August.

The CM had added that both the exams will be held at home centres and only for compulsory subjects. The Madhyamik had been earlier scheduled to take place from June 1 and the Higher Secondary from June 15.

However, due to a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases in the second wave of infection and subsequent lockdown restrictions in place across the state, both the board exams were postponed. The state had earlier announced the cancellation of the clas 11 examinations, saying all students are to be promoted to class 12.

The CM had said a shorter examination of 90-minute duration will be conducted for each major subject in the same schools where students are enrolled instead of being held externally at exam centres. For other subjects, the schools will evaluate students based on their internal assessments, Banerjee said.

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