Education Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha today said that there were slim chances of conducting Grade X examinations (SEE) this year too, mainly due to the rapid surge in COVID cases across the country.

The minister, however, has also stressed that no formal decision had been taken in this regard so far as they were still mulling over the possible ways of conducting examinations through alternative methods.

The minister said this while receiving a memorandum from All Nepal National Free Students Union, a student wing of the ruling CPN-UML, at the ministry regarding the timely conduct of the pending examinations of all levels. Students have requested the ministry to clear up the confusion among students regarding examinations.

Aain Mahar, president of AN- NFSU Oli-faction, said that after receiving the memorandum the minister assured they would take a final call regarding exams by mid-June. In the memorandum, the union has demanded that the government find alternative means of conducting exams and starting the new academic session from mid-June.

The National Examinations Board had postponed SEE indefinitely following the second wave of the COVID-19 in the country. Grade X exams were scheduled to begin from June.

Last year, the government had allowed the concerned schools to provide marks to students on the basis of internal evaluation after the government could not hold the SEE due to COVID-19.

Due to prolonged lockdowns and restrictions, schools were closed for months, which forced the government to extend the academic year by two more months.

Usually, the school academic year begins from April, but this year, the government decided to extend the academic year till mid-June. But, due to the second wave of the virus, schools have not been able to conduct final exams yet and the possibility of completing the academic year by mid-June is also very slim.

Private and Boarding Schools' Organisation-Nepal Chair Tikaram Puri said that it would not be wise to take any decision in haste as schools had one month time to take a final call on exams.

"We can wait for the next couple of weeks. And if the cases start dropping, we could hold examinations with the physical presence of students."

He further said that last year's decision to promote students to Grade XI on the basis of internal evaluation had drawn flak from all corners. "Internal evaluation conducted by schools are not reliable and valid as many schools provide marks/grades to students randomly to please them," Puri said.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.