On January 12, the civic body issued a circular stating schools affiliated to Cambridge international board can hold board examinations. For other schools, the BMC has permitted board exams to be conducted.
Recently, an ICSE-affiliated school from the western suburbs sent out consent forms for class X students to attend offline examinations starting March 1. The form requires parents to give permission and states they will not hold the school responsible for any unforeseen incident. “A lot of parents are protesting the decision to hold offline classes, but the school isn’t giving us a choice. We have submitted our consent,” said a parent on condition of anonymity.
Similarly, at another school in Kandivali, students of class IX were asked to select between online or offline exams. “We were given an option, but the school has stated for students taking online exams, the academic year will be extended by 10 days. This resulted in a lot of parents opting for the offline mode under pressure,” said a parent. The parent said offline examinations began on Thursday. However, the school principal remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts. A few more junior colleges too have informed students about imminent offline examinations.
“Parents have told us some schools have been calling them to send their children for sports activities, offline exams (not mandated by board), teacher guidance etc. when we don’t have permission from BMC yet,” said Francis Joseph, member of the School Leaders Network, a group of educationists.
Many principals said they were being pressured by parents. “There are many schools in low-income areas which are not able to continue online learning for all students. With the board examination dates announced, parents are panicking students will not be able to cope and their performance will be impacted. While we have yet not allowed students to come to school, several in the vicinity have,” said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Convent High School and member of Mumbai Principals’ Association.
BMC education officer, Mahesh Palkar, did not respond to calls or messages.