IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Timing it right: On reopening schools

4th December, 2020 Editorial

Context: It is reasonable to plan for school exams in summer, if progress on COVID-19 holds.

  • Educational administrators are working with vigour to end the prolonged disruption to schooling, and conduct traditional pen-and-paper public examinations in 2021.
  • The CBSE, with more than 20,000 schools under its ambit at the secondary level, has weighed in favour of written mode tests, obviously counting on progress in dealing with the pandemic.
  • As a system with 1.2 million students registering for its senior school certificate examination, and covering schools for expatriates as well, the Board is a bellwether for academic schedules.
  • State Boards, are yet to make up their minds on the schedule for annual examinations and the academic session for next year; badly affected Maharashtra and Gujarat are thinking of postponing the final examinations.
  • The strongest argument in favour of a written Board examination is that it eliminates asymmetrical access, including technology deficits, and gives all pupils an equal opportunity to score.
  • Students are relieved that, in line with the experience in countries such as the U.K., the syllabus has been significantly pared down and examination schedules may be put off by a few months beyond March.
  • The availability of a good vaccine that will also cover teachers and students through a staggered programme is arguably key to determining the coming year’s academic time-table.
  • A choice between bars and schools, should be kept open, posing a lower risk of large-scale infections.
  • India is better placed than America or Europe to provide ventilated classrooms, an important factor in controlling viral spread, because of the climate.
  • Poor adherence to safety norms by the average citizen can only jeopardise the reopening of schools further, even with a vaccine available.