Bombay HC asks ICSE board to present grading plan for pending exams

The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the Indian Certificate Secondary Education (ICSE) board to present its plan for alternative grading for students of Classes 10 and 12 who choose not to physically appear for pending exam papers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde directed the ICSE board to present its plan for alternative grading latest by June 22.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Arvind Tiwari, a parent of a Class 10 student.Advocate Tiwari urged the court to direct all concerned authorities to not conduct the board exams, considering the risk of COVID-19 spread while commuting to exam centres, using exam sheets etc.

On June 14, the board had informed the court that it will offer an option to all its students, in India and abroad, to either take the exam in July or to have their final results declared based on their performance in internal assessments and pre-board exams conducted by schools.“However, I told the court that often, students are graded in a very stringent manner in their pre-board papers.Therefore, calculating final results based on pre-board marks will force more students to sit for these exams despite the potential health risk,” advocate Tiwari said.

Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state government, told the court that the state was also opposed to conducting the pending exams, but it had decided to wait to check how many students choose to appear for them and then take a final call.

The ICSE board examinations were scheduled between February 27 and March 30 this year, but the schedule was interrupted when the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown came into force.Senior advocate Darius Khambata, who appeared for the board, on Wednesday said that if the state government decided to not allow the exams, the board will accept the decision.However, on its part, the board has called for details from schools of the marks obtained by students in pre-board exams and their board exams to help come up with a “fair” methodology for conducting the exams or for an alternative grading system.