The National Examination Board today decided to indefinitely postpone the Grade XII board exams for the second time this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NEB, acting upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, decided to postpone the exams till further notice .

NEB Chairman Chandra Mani Poudel told THT that they took the decision to ensure the safety of students. "The board will conduct the examination after the pandemic comes under control.

But, it is not sure when that will happen," Poudel said. He also informed that the board would publish the examination schedule at least 15 days prior to the examination date.

The examination was scheduled to commence from August 15.

The examination was initially scheduled to begin from June 9.

It was cancelled owing to the second wave of the COVID pandemic. The repeated cancellation of examination and lack of physical classes has only added to the suffering of Grade XII students.

The NEB's decision this time came under pressure from students and stakeholders. The COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre, an apex government body formed to undertake all decisions related to the COV- ID-19 virus in the country, had also earlier proposed that the government cancel the examination.

Lawmakers representing the Education and Health Committee of the House of Representatives had also advised the government to inoculate students before the examination or halt the examination for some time.

The decision to physically conduct examinations had also drawn flak as parents and students took to social media platforms circulating hashtags including #cancelNEBExaminations, #cancelNEBexamssavestudents and #cancelboardexams2021 telling officials to think of alternative ways of evaluation.

However, the NEB has made it clear that they are not mulling alternatives to the examination but will conduct regular threehour long examination at examination centres with the physical presence of students.

Many have taken NEB's move as a relief for around 450,000 students in the wake of yet another episode of rising COV- ID-19 infections across the country. On the other hand, many students have said that they don't want to face uncertainties anymore.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 8 2021, of The Himalayan Times.