Citing COVID-19 scare, several parents have petitioned Chief Minister Pramod Sawant requesting him to defer the proposed Class X and Class XII board examination to July or till the time there is "safer environment" for kids. The Goa Board has announced to conduct SSC examinations from May 21, while exams for remaining three HSSC papers will be held from May 20 to May 22.
The parents, in their representation, have demanded that government should appoint a committee of qualified persons from the fields of medicine/health care and education, to explore and recommend innovative measures like reduction in time of conduct of examination.
"It is imperative that the decision to hold the SSC and HSSC Examination is a hasty decision, uninformed by proper assessment of how appropriate it is to do so in the prevalent circumstances, or what the risk post to students, staff, volunteers and examiners is and without the prescription of sufficient measures to insulate against such risks," the parents said.
"We are deeply keen that the education process and the progress of academic and educational pursuits must continue, and that the same should not be delayed. However, we are equally concerned that the present methods expose students to unnecessary and avoidable risks, and we greatly fear the risk of infection with the COVID-19 contagion and consequences thereof, such circumstances," they added.
The parents demanded that the examinations be deferred, until circumstances regarding novel coronavirus are confirmed to be safe for the large numbers of young people who are scheduled to appear for the said examination, considering that State government itself is on record that the battle against COVID is far from over.
"We plead that the decision of the government and GBSHSE to conduct SSC Examinations for 2020 be recalled, and the said examination be deferred to July, and/or such other date, after proper study of when it shall be safe to conduct the said examinations," the parents said.
The parents have stressed on the need that the issue must be examined by a committee of qualified persons from the fields of medicine/health care and education, and consultation with stakeholders and/or their representatives, to make recommendations, on when and how such examinations could be conducted with minimum risk, if any, and to formulate a proper scheme for conduct thereof without compromising health and safety of students, staff, volunteers and examiners.
The parents lamented that the young students at a crucial point of their life, are placed in the awkward position of choosing between answering vital examination, or to risk the blot of a failed attempt, by missing the examination, if they should choose not to appear for the examination, to avoid the risk of infection at the examination centre.
They also pointed out that the Central government, whilst permitting relaxation in areas where the spread of the COVID-19 contagion is believed to be under control, has not permitted the conduct of such collective public examinations, even in areas classified as green zones, and has not framed any guidelines, protocols, advisories, etc., in view thereof till date.
"When schools and other educational institutions have not been permitted to resume normal academic activity, there is no apparent compelling warrant, reason and/or justification to put students seeking to appear for the SSC examination, with such undue haste and tearing hurry, without any detailed and scientifically prepared instructions issued, protocols framed and/or measures specified," they added.