After bowing to pressure from parents and students, Karnataka on Friday decided to cancel class 12 (second-year pre-university) examinations but decided to hold class 10 (Secondary School Leaving Certificate, SSLC) examinations in Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format in July.

Addressing a press conference here, Karnataka Education Minister, S. Suresh Kumar announced the decision which has come as a big relief to lakhs of students, parents and teachers who were anxiously waiting for the announcement of examination dates since March-April this year. Since then the state government had to postpone these crucial examinations conducted by two separate state boards annually.

Kumar told the media that the class 12 examinations stand cancelled this year and for this year all students who were studying in second PUC will be declared as “promoted with some grades”.

“In the event of any student finding dissatisfaction with the grading system, a proper examination is also being contemplated after the situation comes under control but for only these students,” he clarified responding to a query.

With respect to Class 10 (SSLC) examinations, the Minister said the state government has decided to conduct an examination only for class 10 and the exams will be held in the third week of July.

“There will be only two papers which will be in the MCQ format. Core subjects — Science, Mathematics, Social Science will be clubbed into a single paper, while languages will be conducted as another paper. Each subject will have 40 questions and the question paper will not comprise more than 120 questions and will be for 120 marks,” he added.

He assured that no SSLC student will be failed but the students must appear for these examinations.

He asserted that the state government was not taking any adamant stand to conduct examinations for SSLC. If the Covid situation does not improve even by July third week the education department is going to review its decision.

“Conducting examinations for SSLC is imperative as it is very difficult to adopt grading system for this crucial year of schooling. Nearly 8.75 lakh are eligible to write this examination in our state. The biggest problem we are facing is that last year the same number of students were studying in class 9 and owing to first wave of Covid-19 were promoted to SSLC. If we do not hold examinations for this year, too, then it will be problematic,” he said.

Kumar said there is a genuine problem here as how can these students be assessed in a grading system when they were promoted from Class 9 to Class 10 last year without examinations owing to the Covid first wave.

Earlier, Karnataka had postponed the second year PUC or class 12 final exams on multiple occasions and had decided to promote first-year students without conducting any examinations.

As the second wave of the pandemic began in April, several state boards and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) announced their decision to cancel the ICSE or class 10 board examinations in April itself.