The Central Board of Secondary Education on Wednesday cancelled class 10 exams and postponed class 12 exams in view of surge in COVID-19 cases.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The board exams for class 12 to be held from May 4 to June 14 are hereby postponed. These exams will be held hereafter. The situation will be reviewed on June 1 by the board and details will be shared subsequently. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations," an official of the ministry of education said.
"The board exams for class 10 are hereby cancelled. The results of class 10 board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him or her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the official added.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the principal secretary to the prime minister, cabinet secretary, school and higher education secretaries and other top officials attended the meeting.
The pandemic situation in the country is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 positive cases in many states, with a few states having been affected more than others. In this situation, schools have been shut down in 11 states.
“Unlike state boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country. Looking to the present situation of the pandemic and school closures, and also taking into account the safety and well-being of the students, the crucial decisions have been taken,” the MoE official said.
The demands for cancellation of board exams were being raised from various quarters.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia had on Tuesday appealed to the Centre to cancel the exams, saying it can contribute to a large scale spread of the coronavirus.
Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had urged Union Education Minister Pokhriyal to intervene and direct CBSE to reconsider its decision to go ahead with the board examinations in May despite the "massive and uncontrolled" rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Shiv Sena had also written to the education ministry, requesting the government to develop a national consensus and possibly reschedule classes 10 and 12 CBSE and other board exams.
Over 2 lakh students had signed an online petition demanding cancellation of board exams and the hasthtag "cancelboardexams" has also been trending on Twitter for a week.
States including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have already announced changes in plans for board exams.
Schools across the country were closed in March last year to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown.
Several states started reopening the schools partially from October last year, but physical classes are again being suspended in view of the exponential rise in coronavirus cases.
Last year, the board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later cancelled and the results were announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.
India reported a record single-day rise of over 1.84 lakh new coronavirus infections, according to the Union Health Ministry's data on Wednesday.