Students across the country in classes 10th and 12th can finally rest easy, at least for this term, with the government’s announcement of cancelling examinations and granting promotions based on previous clearances in assessments. At this point in time, this was the only realistic possibility that does not increase potential virus transmission, which is the central focus. The government has made sure that the students are no longer in limbo – the stress students have to bear while taking these all-important board examinations would have only led to poor results and potential infections in this dangerous time.

Now that this debate has finally ended, the federal government must also consider the future and what happens going forward. Cancelling examinations and granting promotions is only a stop-gap, one that does not address students of all levels anyway. There is no guarantee that the start of the next term in August/September will bring an environment safe from coronavirus. In all likelihood, we will still be attempting to contain the spread three months from now.

This is why there is an exigent need to devise a strategy where education goes on uninterrupted in these circumstances. A curriculum that is able to withstand unplanned school closures or a sudden and exponential rise in infections is urgently needed. The state must consider restarting classes through staggered attendance policies, where limited students are allowed to attend classes on a given day, alongside more emphasis on home-based assignments. Graded studying time at home to ensure students don’t get left behind can also be considered. Given that digital divide will undoubtedly hold students back through an online-only policy, alternatives must be looked into as well. The cancellation of examinations was just the first step in determining how the education sector moves forward. A long-term policy must be the next step.