Kerala govt hails SC verdict, says Class XI exams will be held adhering to COVID protocol

Thiruvananthapuram: Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict allowing the Kerala government to hold physical exam for Class XI, the state government on Friday said it was prepared to hold the exam adhering to COVID-19 protocol.

Reacting to the verdict, state General Education Minister V Sivankutty said a majority of students wanted to write the examination offline and it will be held without creating any difficulties for them.

He said once the details of the apex court verdict are available, the examination date will be fixed in consultation with the Chief Minister and other departments. 

He said a new timetable will be prepared for conducting the examination.

The minister also sought the cooperation of all local bodies, political parties, youth organisations and people's representatives in carrying out disinfectant activities in schools across the state.

Dismissing a plea challenging the Kerala government's decision to hold physical exam for Class XI, a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar today said a holistic approach has to be taken in the matter and the authorities are conscious of their duties.

"We are convinced by the explanation offered by the state and trust authorities will take all precautions and necessary steps so that no untoward situation is faced by students who are of tender age and appearing for the proposed examination. Dismissed," the bench said.

The Kerala government in an affidavit had told the top court that online examinations will be a disadvantage for students with no access to laptops and mobile phones.

"The conduct of examination through online mode will prejudice a large number of students who have no access to laptops, desktops or even mobile phones. The students belonging to the lower strata of society are depending on mobile phones or tablets for attending online classes. In many areas, internet connection or mobile data are not available. These students will never be able to write online examinations," the state government said.

The apex court on September 3 stayed for a week the state government's decision to conduct offline exams for Class XI commencing from September 6 amid rising COVID cases, saying "there is an alarming situation in the state".

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