Published: 23rd May 2020
Are students coming for exams or health checks: Meet the advocates who have filed a PIL against Karnataka conducting the SSLC exams
The PIL mentions that it is a risky job to conduct board exams for SSLC students at the point when the pandemic is spreading in rapid numbers and more than eight lakh students are attending this time
After S Suresh Kumar, Primary and Secondary Education Minister announced that the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) has decided to conduct the SSLC exams from June 25, three lawyers came together and filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court saying that it is risky to conduct exams while COVID-19 was still a risk. U T Prashanth, M Lokesh and M K Prithveesh, lawyers at the High Court of Bengaluru say that they have filed this PIL in the interest of students.
The hearing is scheduled on May 27 but the Minister has already said that no matter what, their decision of conducting exams will not change.
U T Prashanth, a senior advocate, explains why they filed the PIL. He says, "The COVID-19 pandemic is currently on the rise. Every day, we see that the cases across India, as well as Karnataka, are increasing. If one student comes in contact with the virus, it will spread to everybody else in the exam centre. Though the Education Minister has said that every student will have to wear a mask and sanitiser will be provided, I don't think that it is a viable solution. I want to know whether the students are coming to write exams or for a health check-up. They already have a lot of exam stress and this fear of virus will lead to serious health issues among them. A student can face exams when they are stress-free and fearless."
When we asked him what he would like the government to do instead, he says, "It is not a recommendation but it is our suggestion to the Education Minister. We know that the state government has conducted preparatory exams in schools prior to the board exams and lockdowns. Apart from this, they have conducted class tests, mid-term exams and students might have already submitted their projects for different subjects. All these marks can be calculated to promote them and admit in the Pre-University. The same has been written in the PIL and presented to the court."
He further adds, "Soon after the exams, they need to go for an evaluation. This is going to be risky for teachers also. Many other states in the Northern parts have completed their exams but teachers are not ready to come and do the evaluation due to the fear of Coronavirus."
No exams in containment zones
Meanwhile, Suresh Kumar has announced that the exams will not be conducted in the containment zones due to the rise in the cases. According to the latest update by the Education Department, the dates for the exams in containment zones will be announced later. They might be conducted along with supplementary exams but they will be considered as a fresh attempt.
According to health department officials, Bengaluru alone has 20 wards in the containment category. These areas are spread over different zones including South, East, West, Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Mahadevapura.