By: Thangoulal Khongsai
In a latest development by BoSEM and CoHSEM, Govt of Manipur, to cancel examination of the two in the wake of Covid Pandemic is surprising given the large number of students whose future could be toppled with this decision. More surprising is the nod given by stakeholders, as mentioned in the official notice, to stand the exam CANCEL when some other states whose positive cases are far more alarming boldly took a go-ahead decission and decided to conduct of the same examinations in months to come. However, this of today’s Govt of Manipur(GoM) decision may not very well assure/convince many of our meritorious students who wanted to excel in their career endeavour after a hard toil of preparations. In contrast, it is only a victory decission for students of average and below average.
Impact on Students:
The year 2020-21 is a deathliest year for many students who holds the pillar of our society. The impact of Covid that began in March 2020 and lasted until today posed collapse of our educational system never like before. With pandemic in full swing, almost all sectors of our activities have become handicapped that our daily well being are on the verge of ruination. This pandemic is so severe that it caused no distinction to students and working class, farmer and service man alike. In the midst of all these it is the students and the our future who will be paying more price than any other.
This pandemic have so much posed a knowledge-divides that rural poor students are more at the lost than their urban students counterpart. Unlike the latter students who have access to good tutor, easy access to good books; bookstores and stationery , ease of market reach and good data connection, students of the erstwhile have no such facility. They depend on their class room learning and internet alone. This have posed additional concern to students of rural areas.
With low rate of schooling in rural Manipur compared to urban students, the decission taken by govt to cancel BOSEM and CoHSEM examination 2021 will certainly increases drop-out students even further. For instance, students from rural area who wants better future and prospect leave their respective villages to pursue their schooling in urban area. But, this pandemic have brought them back to village leaving aside all their books and uniform to never know when they could used them again. As matter of fact, people in village give emphasis on hard labour than studies and these students are no escape from such works. Therefore, prolong distance from class room, Books and uniforms have encouraged hundred of them to take up manual hard labour. This will certainly widen a knowledge-gap generation.
Education and Exam Cancel a Concern?:
Once an African Professor quoted that a nation can be destroyed not by weapons and wars but by providing a low quality education. Meaning, incompetence doctors kill lives than cure whereas a building build by a fake engineer can’t withstand a mild windstorm or wee quake. It is therefore pertinent to promote quality education through proper and regular examination in building our nation.
Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic have pose a big threat to our educational domain. Imagine, what if 70 percent of our students populace today is wipe out of School and Colleges and offer them a grade or degree without providing them a requisite knowledge? This pandemic have left us with no choice but to sacrifice two-year of academic learning. It is vital to reckoned at this hour of pandemic that even if year/s is lost, knowledge can still be cultivated. Thanks to digital India learning initiatives which plays a significant role in briedging our learning gaps deficit to some extend.
It may be commonly difficult to all of us to seeing our learning institutions being lock-up. It is more heartening to see students being kept out of academic at their tender leaning age. How can one ponder the kind of our future when uncertainties of Covid-19 pandemic enveloped us? It is in hand of our government to restore the rights of citizen by providing alternative reliable solution, perhaps amicable decission, so as to pave a way-out for students from this menace instead of completely cancelling the BOSEM and CoHSEM examination,2021.
Cancelling of the said examinations and evaluating their percentage for the academic promotion without examining the knowledge of student is nothing sort of destroying students career and future generation. Instead of framing such divisive decission, Govt could have roll-out better options to encourage student in a way that their exams could be conducted anytime soon or after a month or two when covid cases declines. Reduction in syllabus, more on objective type questions, increasing the number of examination centres and not the least, online option if viable by ensuring digital reach and data connection to all students could be few alternatives.
Also, it is not surprise that, decission to cancel EXAM at the behest of pandemic is approved by the time when public gathering are simultaneously seen everywhere and social distances are not even maintain by law makers. The decission behind EXAM cancellation is hard to digest and is perceived to be a mere mimic of some other states who cancels their Class XII examination. And if at all in fear of Covid the exam is cancelled, everywhere let no public gathering be seen, otherwise the cancellation becomes baseless.
Also, it may be mentioned that, if providing viable option to students other than complete cancellation of exam is not feasible than, Govt concern over thousand of students is doubtful. Even if a 14 committee is constituted to develop an alternative evaluation mechanism for assessment of Class X and XII students, still it is doubtful as their current academic knowledge and learning is not at all known.
Therefore, taking into account the rise in knowledge gaps, digital divides and students right to write exam; govt should re-think to atleast arrange for the intended students, if not for all, who wishes to be part of race of Class X and XII competition. Otherwise, their rights to write exam will be a foreign right.