Kolkata: There is no plan to change the schedule of upcoming offline board exams in West Bengal for now, given the fact that the dates decided upon are some three to four months away and the COVID-19 situation could improve by then, authorities said on Thursday.

Class 12 exams are slated to be held from April 2 to April 20 and Class 10 exams between March 7 and March 16.

The president of Council of Higher Secondary Education, Chiranjib Bhattacharya, told PTI, “Conducting online exams is not feasible. A large number of students in the rural areas won’t be able to afford smartphones with high-speed Internet. We would like to hold the exams offline. There is no plan to change the schedule as of now.”

He also said that the council was hopeful students this year “wouldn’t have to struggle like those that did over the past two years”.

“We cannot predict the turn of events. We can only hope things will get better,” Bhattacharya stated.

Kalyanmoy Ganguly, the president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, said it would not be wise to speculate about the mode of examination this early.

“We won’t be thinking of any alternative evaluation criteria for the time being. Arrangements for holding offline tests are in full swing,” he said.

Secondary exams were held offline in 2020. Last year, however, exams were called off amid the raging second wave of the pandemic. Authorities had to come up with an alternative method for evaluating the students.

Higher Secondary exams, which had commenced in 2020 before the pandemic struck, were scrapped midway owing to the pandemic, forcing the board to devise a formula to award marks to the students. In 2021, no examination was held, with authorities drawing up a different evaluation criteria for the students.

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