West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that state board exams for classes 10 and 12 have been cancelled this year, keeping in view the feedback received from people in the past 24 hours.

Addressing a press conference here, Banerjee, however, said evaluation in some form would be carried out, and a decision to that effect would be taken soon.

At least 83 per cent of the 34,000 people who sent their feedback stressed that conducting board exams in schools wasn’t a wise idea amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she stated.

An expert panel formed by her government to analyse the feasibility of holding the exams has also made similar recommendations, the chief minister noted. The school education department had provided email ids and sought a public opinion from people on the viability of conducting this year’s board exams.

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In deference to public opinion and as also suggested by the expert committee, we are not holding the uchha madhyamik (higher secondary) and madhyamik (secondary) exams now but we don’t want to inconvenience our students. “There will be some evaluation, based on which the candidates will get results. We will decide about the evaluation method soon,” she said.

Banerjee, during the meeting, directed the education secretary to ensure the expert committee, comprising doctors and academics, come up with the evaluation criteria within a week’s time. She also asked officials to stay updated on the assessment methods adopted by other boards.

Over 12 lakh students are set to appear for Madhyamik and 8.5 lakh for Higher Secondary examinations this year. CBSE and CISCE have recently cancelled 12 board exams in the wake of the pandemic.

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