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Aizawl: Amid the extension of national lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic till May 3, Class XII students of the Mizoram Board of School Education (MBSE) are in a dilemma after the board announced that the exams for economics, chemistry, sociology, computer science and home science are going to be held from April 22 to 24.

Like many boards in the country, the MBSE was also conducting the Class XII board exams in February and March when the pandemic started gaining momentum in the country. The practical exams were over by February. However, the theory exams which were underway in March had to be stopped mid-way when PM Narendra Modi announced the three-week national lockdown on March 24.

A notification of the MBSE dated April 8, 2020 announced  the rescheduling of the Class XII board exams a week after the end of lockdown but did not specify the exact dates

The Mizoram board even released a statement on April 8 stating, “Since the initiation of a countrywide lockdown, the Mizoram Board of School Education states that the HSSLC exams will continue after the lockdown with at least one week gap or more.”

As the lockdown was supposed to be over by April 14, with the one-week gap, the exams were supposed to resume from April 21 onwards.

A new notification issued by the MBSE on April 14

On April 14, rather than ending the lockdown, PM Modi extended it further till May 3. Ironically, on the same day, the MBSE released a statement which showed no change in the dates of the exams. The exams were to re-commence on April 22 and end on April 24.

To saturate the dilemma of the students even further, the board released yet another statement on the next day (April 15) which mentioned the precautions to be used during the exams. Pointers included the pattern of seating (zig-zag) with at least 3-ft distance and face masks and sanitizers being a necessary commodity.

A notification issued by the MBSE on April 15

Three questions now strike the minds of almost every student of the Mizoram Board.

Firstly, the April 8 statement said that the exams will resume a week after the “lockdown”, but it did not specify the exact date.

Secondly, with many students having the combination of both economics and sociology or sociology and computer science, hence they “don’t know how they will be able to manage the exams consecutively”.

Lastly, does the MBSE want to put the students in the path of possible COVID-19 transmission? Mizoram has detected one COVID-19 patient till date.

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