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Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. File   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

A real leader examines every issue in a holistic manner to ensure that at the end of the debate, we emerge stronger and more united than ever before. The decision to cancel the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 12 exam is among the many decisions taken by the Prime Minister in the sphere of education in these times of unprecedented crises and challenges.


Every decision in public policy should pass certain objective criteria because there are always competing alternatives. If a decision is based on the criterion of empathy, it an excellent decision. If empathy is clubbed with rationality, the decision will pay rich dividends for all the citizens. The three criteria that were considered in the debate on cancelling the CBSE Class 12 exam were students’ career, their safety, and empathy.

Regarding the first criterion, there is no denying that the CBSE Class 12 exam has a significant role in every student’s career graph and road map for life.

Regarding the second criterion, the health and safety of our students is of the greatest importance and there should not be any compromise on this aspect. Though the numbers of COVID-19 cases are decreasing, some States are still under some form of lockdown. The Prime Minster has said that every single life is precious and the safety of our children is our biggest priority.

Regarding the third criterion, I feel that all stakeholders must show sensitivity and empathy for our students. The Prime Minster has proved that leadership is all about empathy and the ability to connect with the people. He has always been there in Pariksha Pe Charcha with our students to inspire them with empathy.

Democracy since the days of the ‘Janapada system’ of ancient andar bahar rules is all about consultative decision-making. When we met for the first time on the CBSE issue, the Prime Minister made it clear that a decision should be taken only after wide discussion. He used to repeatedly ask, was this issue widely discussed and debated by all the stakeholders in the country? Keeping in mind the spirit of wide consultation, a high-powered committee was formed under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, with Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani as its core members. This was a pan-andar bahar rules consultation involving all the State Education Ministers, Education Secretaries and Chairpersons of State Education Boards. We discussed the road map and possible avenues for conduct of the Class 12 exam.

The valuable inputs and suggestions received during the consultations were analysed using the three aforementioned criteria, by the Prime Minster and other Cabinet Ministers and senior officers of the country. Looking at the various criteria, dimensions, possibilities and scenarios, a decision was taken.


The decision to cancel the exam will help lakhs of students explore career opportunities in colleges and universities in the coming academic session. It will also help our students get aligned with the coming session and prevent loss of valuable time as well as academic losses. Some students who wish to take the exam will get adequate opportunities to do so in an improved scenario. We are completely committed to providing ample opportunities to merit-seeking students who wish to write the board exam.

As Union Minister of Education, I would like to assure you that the Class 12 results will be formulated according to a well-defined and objective criterion in a time-bound manner ensuring merit and inclusivity. There will be comprehensive planning by the CBSE and the Ministry officials to formulate the mechanism that will accommodate all possible options of evaluation and quantification. The mental freedom and strength achieved through this decision will go a long way in contributing to the general well-being of students, families, society, and our country.

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ is Union Education Minister, Government of andar bahar rules

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 5:22:47 AM |

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