Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday said that the exams for nearly 8.5 lakh 10th graders studying state syllabus, will commence from Thursday as scheduled, much to the anguish of parents and guardians opposing the move.
The decision to go ahead with the exams despite the opposition has fueled outrage that the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government was risking the lives of young students just to prove that it had the covid-19 situation under control.
The decision comes on a day that the state breached the 10,000 covid-19 case mark much ahead of projections as 397 persons tested positive on Wednesday including 176 in Bengaluru. The state also confirmed 14 casualties on Wednesday marking its highest single day increase that takes the toll to 168.
Several other states have cancelled exams in the wake of a rise in covid-19 positive cases.
“These (exams) are being conducted keeping our children, their future and wellbeing in mind and doing our duty and not a matter of prestige,” S.Suresh Kumar, the state’s primary and secondary education minister said on Wednesday.
His cabinet colleague, medical education minister K.Sudhakar said that the exercise was being taken up as a “challenge” as the entire country is looking at the decision of the Karnataka government to conduct the SSLC (secondary school leaving certificate) or 10th grade exams.
Incidentally, Sudhakar is in quarantine as three members of his family and two members of his household staff tested positive for covid-19.
The exams will be held from 25 June to 5 July and both the High Court and Supreme Court have allowed the state to carry on as scheduled. Kumar said that over 1.5 lakh personnel will be deployed from various departments in the conducting of these exams that include teachers, health personnel, transport staff and police among others. At least 10 students who have tested positive as well as those in quarantine will be allowed to write the exam in August, Kumar said.
Former Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said that the government will be held responsible even if one student is infected due to the conducting of these exams.
Opposition political parties had suggested that the exams be put off and that the government reimpose a lockdown to contain the spread.
Kumar said that all precautions were taken to ensure the safety of students in 2879 centres across the state.
The 176 cases in Bengaluru, the state’s growth engine, further fueling speculation that the Yediyurappa-led government may be forced to announce another lockdown to contain the spread.
Only 83 out of the 397 are persons who returned from other states and countries that indicates the possibility of community transmission.
The active cases in Bengaluru now stands at 1124 as against 412 in Kalaburagi and 376 in Ballari. The cluster in Jindal Steel has been on the rise making it one of the biggest containment zones and clusters in the state, and possibly the country.