Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote to Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Sunday and sought cancellation of the CBSE Board exams, saying it will be impossible to ensure the safety of students at crowded exam centres.
In her letter to the Pokhriyal, she said by forcing children to sit for these exams during a raging pandemic, the Government and the CBSE board will be held responsible if any exam centre becomes a hotspot with a large number of children becoming infected with the disease.
"The Government and the CBSE board might want to consider whether they are prepared to own the legal liability for students or others who might be severely affected by the disease in this manner," she said.
She said with over one lakh cases of COVID-19 being reported across the country, lakhs of children and parents have expressed fear and apprehension about assembling at exam centres to sit for the exams in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19.
Vadra said the apprehensions of students are well-founded, as giving exams under the spectre of a deadly disease will cause unnecessary anxiety to children and impact their ability to perform as well.
"They are rightfully requesting that the exams be cancelled under the prevailing circumstances.
"I do hope that the Government will engage in a dialogue with schools, students and their parents so that a safer way for them to fulfil their educational obligations can be found. Rather than forcing them into a potentially dangerous situation, it would be in the fitness of things for them to be given the support, encouragement and protection that is due to them at this very trying time," Vadra said in her letter.
She also pointed out that it is our responsibility as political leaders to protect and guide the young.
As state after state issues guidelines preventing the assembly of large numbers of people in public places, what moral grounds can we stand on, while forcing young children to do exactly that, she asked.
According to the revised date sheet for CBSE board exams 2021, the Class 10 exams would be held between May 4 and June 7 and those for Class 12 would be held between May 4 and June 15.
CBSE officials have said that exam centres across the country have been increased by 40-50 per cent to ensure social distancing among students.
(With PTI inputs.)