Following in the footsteps of Telangana, and in the wake of the adverse observations of the Madras High Court on June 8, the Tamil Nadu government today announced the cancellation of the Class 10 examinations and declared all students as having passed. The hall tickets had been issued over the past couple of days and the examinations were slated to begin on June 15 and end on June 25.
Soon after the announcement, Puducherry too announced the cancellation of Class 10 examinations in the Union Territory.
Marks will be awarded on the basis of the students’ performance in the quarterly and half yearly examinations and their attendance. Marks in the two examinations will have 80 per cent weightage and attendance the remaining 20 per cent.
There is no clarity on Class 10 private candidates, including those lodged in jails. One official said that orders regarding these candidates would be issued separately because the yardstick used to judge regular students could not be applied in their case.
Examinations that had to be postponed for some papers of Class 11 have also been cancelled. The Class 11 supplementary examinations have been put off and a clarification on this is expected from the school education department.
The main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, questioned the delay and said that the government not taking a decision on an important issue such as this was a reflection of how it was managing the COVID-19 crisis. "We have been making this demand from early May," said DMK leader and former School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu. "We told the government that this was not the right time. Once the coronavirus infection subsides and people have nothing to fear, the government could think of options. Until then the government should not even think of holding any examinations. Our demand was cancellation of the exams," he told Frontline . "There was no need to create so much uncertainty, especially when everyone was well aware that the pandemic was not in control in the State," he added.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami made the announcement on the cancellation of the examinations despite School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan being a senior Minister. This yet again underlined the fact that politically he remained unchallenged in the party. But the biggest criticism against the Chief Minister remains — that in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has fallen way short in coordinating the work of the various Ministries. The Ministries functioning in silos, says observers, has had a negative impact on the management of the pandemic in Tamil Nadu.