India’s federal education ministry on Wednesday decided to put off the examination of Class 12, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education. It was scheduled to be held in May. The examination of class 10 stands cancelled.

The board exams are conducted in different examination centres, away from a students’ own school. 

The decision was taken by the ministry in consultation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired a meeting on the matter on Wednesday morning. The ministry will review the COVID-19 situation in the country on 1 June before it decides on the next dates to be announced for the Class 12 examination. 

“The results of the Class 10th Board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him on this basis will be given the opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” read a statement from the Indian Ministry of Education.

The Board exams for Class 12 were to be held from 4 May to 14 June. Earlier the Ministry of Education had ruled out the cancellation of exams, saying that all necessary arrangements will be made in view of the pandemic.

However, a phenomenal jump in new cases of coronavirus being reported throughout the country had raised huge concerns about the safety of students.  Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to the government to cancel the exams lest the exam centres become COVID 19 hotspots.

According to his official statement, Prime Minister Modi said that the government would keep in mind the best interests of the students and ensure that their health is taken care of and that their academic interests are not harmed. 

“Unlike state boards, the CBSE has an all India-nature and therefore it is essential to hold exams simultaneously through out the country,” the statement from the education ministry read.

Several state chiefs had written to the Prime Minister seeking the postponement of the exams. On Wednesday morning, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, too had written to the the Prime Minister appealing that the exams be put off or cancelled. 

Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had also urged the federal Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to intervene and direct the CBSE to reconsider its decision to go ahead with board exams in May.

In the grip of the second wave of coronavirus which is worsening and highly infectious, as warned by experts, India on Wednesday recorded the highest single day jump of 184,372 new cases of COVID 19. This has taken the country’s total infection numbers past 13.87 million, figures given by the federal health ministry reveal.