Students express concern as Andhra govt decides to go ahead with Inter exams amid Covid wave

The AP government has decided to continue with conducting intermediate (class 12) exams, starting on May 5. Around 10 lakh students will appear for the exams at more than 1400 exam centres in the state.

Andhra Pradesh (AP) is among the few states that are going to conduct the class 10 and 12 board exams amid the ongoing pandemic. The AP SSC (class 10) and Intermediate (class 12) board exams are scheduled to begin on June 6 and May 5, respectively. More than 10 lakh students are expected to appear for the intermediate exams this year.

However, students across the state are distressed at the state’s move amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Andhra Pradesh reported more than 14,792 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 10,84,336. 

Sowmya Saluru, 17, a second-year intermediate student at Achiever’s College, Vizag, says that the students are not mentally prepared to take the exams. “We are losing people in our families. I have lost around 7 members of my family to COVID-19 and two of them were just in their late 30s. While the government is saying that the class 12 pass certificate without the exam will not hold much value, we just want to ask that what will we do with the certificates if our lives are at a risk,” she told indianexpress.com.

AP Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh on Thursday made it clear that there will be no change in the schedule of intermediate examinations, which will be held from May 5 at 1452 centres, duly following the Covid protocol ensuring safety for every student.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the minister said that inter-examinations are very important for the future of the students, as these certificates are quite essential in future. He assured that students and their parents need not worry about the conduct of the exams, as strict preventive measures will be taken at every centre.

Arjunsai Atluri, another class 12 student, said he contracted the COVID-19 virus while appearing for the practical exams, which were held from April 6-9. He fears that other students could also get infected while taking the offline board exams.

“I had taken my practical exams at the SS Mahitha College of Education, Vijayawada on April 6. The sanitisation process was not up to the mark. We appeared for the chemistry practical and the equipment was not sanitised and other students before us had also touched the same test tubes and beakers. Many students were coughing in the hall. After returning home, I started having mild symptoms and got myself tested. On April 9, I was diagnosed with COVID-19 positive. More than 10 lakh students who will appear for these exams will eventually put their families at risk,” says Arjun.

The AP government cancelled its cabinet meeting scheduled for April 29, stating coronavirus scare and has not yet passed their budget as the assembly could not function due to COVID.

Meanwhile, there is less than a week left for the class 12 exams to begin on May 5. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has moved the high court and filed a PIL seeking postponement of exams.

“This could go down as one of the worst policy failures of a state government when the whole country is fighting the second wave. The AP government is risking multiple super-spreader events by bringing together 10.3 lakh students in 1400+ centres for class 11, 12 exams next month. Every other state has postponed or cancelled them. This is a criminal and immoral waste of resources when we should be single-mindedly fighting the pandemic,” TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh told indianexpress.com.

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