Finally the Goa government on Tuesday announced the cancellation of XIIth standard examination owing to the spike of COVID19 cases in the State, which is still hovering around 20 p.c positivity rate.
Yes, the decision was the need of the hour and more so forced upon the government and students. There is a dip in COVID19 cases but it is yet not enough to conduct the high-voltage exams like XIIth standard.
Conduct of Online exams also wasn’t a smart option as the standard XIIth students are the crossroad where they decide they have to go based on the results.
The decision to cancel the examination in 2021 by Dr Pramod Sawant may have resolved a minor issue, but the real test comes now when the national entrance examinations — such as NEET and JEE — need to be addressed.
It is indeed sad and injustice to the students who really slogged hard not just one year but entire 12 years.
Mind you, the parents and students begin preparation for admissions in professional college’s right from the primary level.
It is indeed like all their hard work has gone in vain.
So where have we failed, we cannot put the blame entirely on the government. Yes, the government started everything last year but schools. Online classes was another sham in Goa with poor network connectivity. The parents and students also need to be blamed as when the cases had dropped from November to January, we could see the youth busy playing football, cricket on ground but were up in arms whenever there were plans mooted to re-open schools.
The parents too did not hold any control over their children.
And when the exams were announced, the students who did not do any studies or attend any classes for entire year were out with banners to cancel exams.
While saying this, I would also like to say that the country which is being hailed for three vaccine development has failed to have a good vaccine policy.
The government could have done well to import vaccines from abroad for 12 and above. India’s Covaxin trials for 12+ has just started and it may take another 4-5 months for vaccine roll-out.
By importing vaccine all the students of Xth and XIIth standard could have been covered.
Importantly, the Dr Pramod Sawant government must recognise that major factors such as non-availability of enough vaccine doses, absence of a systematic vaccine coverage plan, and poor understanding of where virus variants are spreading, contributed to the second wave, and may, in fact, cause a third.
It’s a simple logic now, if the 45+ people are not ready to take vaccines start vaccination of 18+, so that the virus load comes down and keep borders sealed till such exams are held.
The plight of students, which is engaging governments, has to become a top priority. Singapore has just approved mRNA vaccine coverage for children 12 years and older, just as the U.S. regulator FDA has for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Britain has thought of 100 extra tuition hours for schools from 2022. There cannot be an interminable wait for vaccines to trickle down to all.
The government must take responsibility to provide vaccine to everyone, including students.