Published: 26th April 2021
Exams shouldn't be a topic of discussion right now: Meet 15-year-old Siya Tayal who wrote a letter to PM to #CancelCBSEBoardExams
A student at The Shri Ram School Aravali, 15-year-old Siya Tayal wrote the letter on April 13, a day before the official announcement
The centre's decision to cancel the CBSE board exams came after lakhs of students and parents have been raising concerns about the Coronavirus situation. Among these is a Class 10 student from Delhi, whose emotional letter to the Prime Minister on cancelling the board exams went viral and was acknowledged by students across the country. Her tweet containing the letter currently has over 3000 likes and 1800 retweets.
A student at The Shri Ram School Aravali, 15-year-old Siya Tayal wrote the letter on April 13, a day before the official announcement was made by the CBSE. Her letter highlights that staying alive and healthy is more important so that all students can go back to school once things begin getting back to normal. "In the larger scheme of life, Board Examinations have little value. It is a means to an end and not an end itself," she wrote.
Speaking to Edex on why she wrote the letter, Siya tells us, "The examinations were about to be held as per the previous schedule and I felt that is not something we should be thinking about right now. The situation around is getting crazier day by day, I am getting a call almost every three minutes asking for help with beds, oxygen, hospital contacts, medicines and a lot more. In the past week, I started my own COVID resource group with 50-60 friends online, people from my school, where we are putting up all kind of resources available for COVID patients and their families in and around Gurugram. We are also calling these helplines or contacts to find out bed availability, oxygen support and more. When all of this is happening, exams shouldn't be a topic of discussion right now, that's why I wrote a letter. Lakhs of students wanted the exams cancelled and I was only trying to garner more support."
@PMOIndia you are our only hope now. With a hopeful heart and trembling hands I write this to you, in search for a helping hand during these hard times. #Studentlivesmatter #cancelboardexams2021 #boardexams2021 #cancelboardexams pic.twitter.com/2B3w0BtV81— Siya Tayal (@SiyaTayal) April 13, 2021
Voicing the concerns of several students around the country, Siya points out that a large number of students are likely to be exposed to the virus making them carriers who could infect older, younger members of their families back home. "Students, teachers, and invigilators go back to small homes with parents, grandparents and siblings who are exposed to the risks. If one student tests positive, the entire classroom will be required to quarantine. Hospital beds are filling up fast and medical care is expensive. Bank balances are drying up and many parents have lost their jobs during the pandemic," she wrote in her letter.
READ ALSO: Cancel CBSE Board Exams 2021: Students run online petition citing inadequate online classes, mental health concerns
Given the situation, Siya feels examinations can take a back seat for now. "We always talk about how everyone needs a good education, for which we actually hold the examinations. But students have been studying for the entire year, putting in all their effort, which means they have already got the education and now you just want them to prove it through these exams. The knowledge is already there, so why do we need to pressurise them to prove it through a single set of exams?" she asks.
Siya's father died of heart attack in 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic and does not want any other families to go through the pain and grief her family endured. She also pointed out to the prime minister that numerous people have tested positive despite being vaccinated. "Multiple positive cases have come up even after the first and second vaccine dose. The vaccines have not been tested for children under 16. Most parents of students in grade X are not yet eligible for the vaccine due to their age. The number of containment zones has increased again," she wrote.
Siya says she will keep fighting for those whose exams haven't been cancelled yet. The Class 12 CBSE exams were postponed and not cancelled, which she feels is quite unfair. "Vaccines won't really provide a hundred per cent protection, the only option is to cancel the exams," she concludes.
The 15-year-old started social work when she was six years old and Siya has also spoken at UN, Geneva and is a Youth Ambassador under 1m2030 (a UNITAR and Global Challenges Forum initiative). At just eight, she started her own initiative Bee Nifty, a not-for-profit initiative that provides income and livelihood to women in rural Haryana by creating recyclable bags.