* June 18 meeting between Education Minister and other stakeholders to take the final decision
GUWAHATI: The State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said that it does not behove the government to hold the HSLC (High School Leaving Certificate) and HS (Higher Secondary) examinations given the prevailing COVID-19 positivity rate and the existing examination patterns.
The Cabinet, however, stopped short of taking the final decision on the examinations. It decided that Education Minister Ranoj Pegu and other stakeholders take the final decision on the examination issue at a meeting on June 18, 2021.
Making the Cabinet decision public, Health Minister Keshab Mahanta said, "The Health Department gave a presentation on the pandemic situation vis-à-vis the examination patterns before the Cabinet on Wednesday. First, the number of HSLC candidates is around 4.40 lakh and that of HS is around 2.50 lakh. Parents generally accompany their wards to the examination venues. Apart from them, there are teachers, cars and other vehicles that are supposed to teem with the examination venues. It will be a gathering of around 20 lakh, and the COVID-19 protocol doesn't allow it.
"Second, various studies made it clear that the COVID-19 infection in the age group 11-18 years is ten per cent. This is another factor that can't be ignored. Taking all these in view, besides the existing examination patterns in the State holding HSLC and HS examinations in the State doesn't seem to be a wise move. The Education Minister will hold a meeting with various organizations on June 18 to take the final decision on HSLC and HS examinations."
On the COVID-19 front, Mahanta said, "The home isolation won't be allowed if the family doesn't have facilities for that. Many people claim to have in-house facilities for home isolation even as they don't have them, and they end up spreading the virus. This is the reason why the COVID-19 positivity rate doesn't fall in rural areas, these days."
IPR (Information and Public Relations) Minister Pijush Hazarika said, "The Cabinet decided to set up four FSLs (Forensic Science Laboratories) – one each at Silchar, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Bongaigaon. The State has only one FSL now. It leads to delay in the FSL report, and that is one of the reasons behind the poor conviction rate in the State."
Education Minister Ranoj Pegu said, "The Cabinet approved the statutes of Madhabdev University at Narayanpur, Bhattadev University at Bajali, Birangana Sati Sadhini University at Golaghat and Rabindra Nath Tagore University at Hojai for facilitating their smooth functioning."