“Supreme Court has asked us to submit the statement of facts of scientific preparations to conduct examination and on what background the decision to conduct examination has been taken. The Education Department will submit the reports before September 13,” he said.
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Further, the minister added that 4,22,000 students have written Kerala Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination and 4.5 lakh students have written higher secondary examinations successfully.
“There were no lapses in conducting the examinations and on the basis of that experience, we had decided to conduct class XI (Plus One) examination,” he said.
“The students who appeared for examination were in good confidence and with the support of the students and parents, we had decided to conduct the examination,” he added.
Sivankutty reiterated that the Kerala government would implement the Supreme Court’s order, and on the basis of its final order, will move further.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said that situation in Kerala is alarming because of the continuing rise in Covid-19 cases and children of tender age cannot be exposed to risk while noting that around 35,000 cases are being reported daily from the state.
The class XI (Plus One) exam was scheduled to be conducted from September 6.
The Bench observed, “There is an alarming situation in Kerala. It accounts for more than 70 per cent of cases of the country, with around 35, 000 daily cases. Children of tender age can’t be exposed to risk.”
In its order, the apex court stated, “we grant interim relief staying offline exam for till next date of hearing. List this matter on September 13.” The bench was hearing an appeal against the Kerala High court order refusing to interfere with the decision to hold offline exams.
The appeal filed by one Rasoolshan A stated that holding physical exams when the Covid-19 cases are at their peak in the state was a huge risk, especially since the children are not vaccinated.
Around three lakh students will take the exam scheduled to be held from September 6 and as the students pursuing class XI are largely unvaccinated, they are very vulnerable to the virus, argued advocate Prashant Padmanabhan appearing for Rasoolshan.
During the hearing, advocate CK Sasi, appearing for the Kerala government, defended the state government’s decision to hold the exams offline and submitted that all safety protocols have already been taken care of.
“Assure us that no student will be infected. These are children of tender age. Even one case reported for a student, we will hold you accountable,” the bench told Kerala government’s counsel.
The apex court said that the Kerala government may think of alternative forms of assessment and inform it on the next date, September 13.
The Kerala High Court while observing that conducting Plus One examination was a matter of government policy and that much deliberation had gone into the same, refused to interfere in the matter.
The High Court’s order had come on the plea of some students who had approached the court against the Kerala government decision to hold the Class XI exam offline. They had said that the decision was taken without considering the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic situation prevalent in the State.