School reopening likely to prolong after SC stay on Plus-One exam

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Thiruvananthapuram: Reopening of schools in Kerala is likely to be delayed even though the State Government was keen and the education department was preparing towards this end despite the threat of COVID-19. Friday's Supreme Court order staying the commencement of Plus-One public exam for a week is likely to force the administration to have a rethink on commencing in-person classes in schools which remain shut since early last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Plus-One exam was due to begin on 6 September. Justice Khanwilkar, while considering the plea against government’s decision to conduct Plus-One exam, reminded the State Government that it would be answerable even if one student tests positive for COVID-19. Justice CT Ravikumar, who has recently taken office, pointed out that the exam centres could be a minefield for infections as students from different places come together for the exam.

The apex court has stayed the exams citing the worsening COVID-19 situation in Kerala. Now, the education department fears that the same instructions would be applicable when it comes to school reopening.

Complains were raised from various corners, ever since the government had announced the Plus-One exam schedule. Many teachers’ organisations had questioned the practicality of conducting public exams for students who haven’t attended onsite classes even for a day. Meanwhile, the parents have been concerned about the safety of their wards, especially when the number of daily cases has been soaring.

Minister V Sivankutty said that the government would follow the Supreme Court order. “The necessary information would be given before 13 September. The rest would be decided after the final order is passed,” he added.

Even if the apex court permits to conduct the exams after 13 September, it would take some time to prepare the time table. Besides, the students too should be given time to prepare for the exams.

The education department, in the circular that was published during the time of the model exam, had stated that the Plus-One public exam cannot be postponed as the Plus-Two exams have to be conducted in March next year.

The digital classes for Plus-Two have been stopped since 1 August and cannot be resumed without having a final decision about conducting the Plus-One exam.

Plus-One revision classes and live call-in sessions where the students could clear their doubts were conducted last month. 

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