The West Bengal government has decided to form an expert committee to decide whether the board exams are possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee has been asked to submit a report within 72 hours.

On Wednesday, the day when the exam schedule for Madhyamik and Higher Secondary was supposed to be announced, the state government postponed the announcement and formed an expert committee to review the entire situation and submit a report within 72 hours on the possibility and mechanism of conducting the exams in this corona situation.

The committee wants to establish the safest way to conduct the board examination, and will provide their opinion on whether exams are possible. Sources in the board indicated that top board officials including President of West Bengal Board of Secondary Examination (WBBSE) Kalyanmoy Ganguly, President of West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Examination (WBCHSE) Mohua Das and Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Ananya Chakraborty will be a part of the expert committee.

“We will not compromise on the health of nearly 21 lakh Madhyamik and Higher Secondary students and for that we are ready to take any kind of hard decision,” a member of the expert committee said.

“The expert committee has been asked to submit their report within 72 hours. The state government will evaluate the whole thing in the light of the report submitted by the expert committee and then the final decision will be taken. However, it will not take long because the board is keen to ease out the tension of the students,” a senior board official said.

Last month, Mamata had announced that the state government will conduct the Higher Secondary (Class XII) exams in the last week of July, while the Madhyamik (Class X) exams will be held in the second week of August.

It was decided that tests will be held only for the compulsory subjects, while the schools will give marks for the additional subjects based on internal assessment.

The Chief Minister had also made it clear that this year the students will not have to go to any other school to write their papers; instead, there will be home centres and the school authorities, according to their strength, will arrange for sanitisation and sitting arrangement, maintaining all the Covid protocols.