NEW DELHI :
“DON’T mess up with the education system”, the Supreme Court said on Thursday while refusing to direct the CBSE and the CISCE to provide option of hybrid mode, instead of only offline mode, to the students for appearing in class 10 and 12 board examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Observing that this “last-minute” business should be discouraged, the apex court said it would not be appropriate to intervene and disturb the entire examination process at this stage. The top court noted that term one board exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have already commenced from November 16, while semester one of the board exams of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) are to commence from November 22. “This eleventh hour changing and giving hope to the students, we discourage this,” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar said. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBSE, told the bench that all precautions have been taken for conducting the board exams in offline mode and the number of examination centres have been increased from 6,500 to 15,000. The top court was hearing a plea by six students seeking directions to the CBSE and the CISCE to issue a revised circular for conducting the ensuing class 10 and 12 board exams in the hybrid mode, instead of the offline mode only, amid the pandemic.
The bench told senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, who was appearing for the petitioners, that it was too late now and the examinations cannot be rescheduled at this stage. Hegde told the top court that today there is a state of uncertainty and the students should be given the option of hybrid mode to appear in the examinations. “Don’t mess up with the education system. Let the authorities continue to do their job,” the bench said, adding that there would be “chaotic situation” as nearly 34 lakh students would be appearing in these examinations across the country. Hegde told the court that COVID-19 is an evolving situation and several aspects, including the possibility of conducting online exams, were deliberated upon earlier. “This we could have tested if you had come early.
This last-minute business should be discouraged,” the bench said. At the outset, Hegde told the bench that this is not adversarial and they are only requesting that option of hybrid mode be also provided to the students to appear in the board examinations. Mehta said there are around 34 lakh students who would be appearing in the classes 10 and 12 board examinations. “The exams (of CBSE) have already started on November 16,” Mehta said.