Delhi continues to be ravaged by violence between the pro and anti-CAA protesters, but schoolchildren who are taking their board exams have become an unintended victim of the situation.
Uncertainty looms over scores of students residing in North East Delhi – the epicentre of violence – who are appearing for Class 10 and 12 examinations of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), due to the volatile situation on street.
Even though the CBSE announced on Tuesday night that Class 10 and 12 board exams at 86 centres in violence-hit North East Delhi have been deferred, the students remain anxious as they do not have clarity over the rest of the schedule and the violence that started Sunday night, has claimed 20 lives so far. Examinations in the rest of Delhi would be conducted as per schedule.
The Delhi government has already shut schools and deferred internal examinations in North East Delhi. The CBSE examination for Class 10 and 12 began on 15 February and will conclude on 20 March and 30 March respectively. Examinations in the rest of Delhi are being conducted as per schedule.
Considering volatile situation in North East, CBSE's decision to postpone tomorrow's exam there is welcome step
— Anurag Kundu (@AnuragKunduAK) February 25, 2020
Meanwhile, parents say that although the cancellation of Wednesday's exam by CBSE is a welcome step, they remained concerned over the mental well-being of their children as the situation remains unpredictable due to riots.
Parents as well as students fear that the environment of violence and riots on streets might adversely affect the examination results of students. There is also a fear that the agitation and violence might spread in other parts of Delhi, after the departure of the US President Donald Trump.
Besides North East Delhi, commercial establishments in several localities in Delhi – like Madhu Vihar in East Delhi or areas close to Mayur Vihar — have voluntarily been shut due of fear. It has become difficult for commuters, especially students attending coaching classes, to get auto-rickshaws and cabs.
The deaths of 20 people due to violence, rampage on the streets and burning of properties on a large-scale have made the situation worst for the students.
Parents are deeply worried with the situation and fear for the safety and security of their kids.
"I'm worried for my son. His exams begin tomorrow. What if the violence breaks out on the way to the centre and also spreads to other areas? What if something like this happens outside when the exams are on? Students will get distracted and this will affect their performance. As the situation has worsened, I hope police security is strong at the centres. In the evening today, I couldn’t find a single auto on the road," said Surjeeta Mishra, a resident of Mayur Vihar, whose son is appearing for CBSE Class 10 examination.
Considering the volatile situation in the national capital, the All India Parents’ Association (AIPA) has decided to take up the issue with the government.
"It's really a matter of great concern for all, and particularly for parents, teachers and those students who are appearing for board exams. Such riots are prone to spoil performance and careers of young students. We should all aspire to ensure peace and communal harmony, which is the need of the hour,” national president of AIPA, Ashok Agarwal told Firstpost.
“We’re also writing to the central and Delhi governments to ensure peace and safety of the students, by controlling the situation at the earliest," he added.
Like many other examinees in North East Delhi taking board examination, Ashish (name changed) a Class 12 CBSE student and a resident of Brahampuri is equally concerned.
"Situation here is extremely volatile. I have discussed it with my teachers and friends. We are highly tensed as we don’t know how we would go to examination centre. Auto-rickshaws are not visible. No cabs are plying in the affected areas. It's not about one day; I've to appear in four subjects. Our parents are extremely worried about our safety once we're out of home," Ashish said.
Postponing of a board examination paper has always been a major cause of stress among examinees. Though CBSE has postponed the examination to be held on Wednesday at centres in North East Delhi, the students are apprehensive about other days as well. There's no certainty that the situation in violent-affected districts would be completely under control. It's a matter of great concern even for students from other districts of Delhi.
"Postponing of examination is always stressful. The exam has been deferred for North East Delhi only, whereas students taking exams in other parts of Delhi are equally concerned as they are uncertain about the consequences of the riot and the extent of its impact. Even for the students of North East Delhi, gaining momentum in their studies for a postponed exam is painful," said Ravinder S Chouhan, a teacher of a South Delhi school.
According to mental health experts, an atmosphere of terror and panic due to violent incidents like the ongoing riots in NE Delhi, can cause acute frustration, paralysing fear, acute anxiety, panic attacks, depressive symptoms, post traumatic symptoms and severe anger outbursts among students. It invariably impacts performance of students in the examination, which can cause a big dent in their career.
"Social environment plays an important role on the mental health of people. Students appearing for board exams are already undergoing performance-related stress, and this riot-like situation will aggravate it. Uncertainty, frustration and lack of control over the situation leads to a state of helplessness for the students. A happy environment is must during the exams, which is missing now and the all-pervasive fear can affect performance in the examination,” Professor Navin Kumar, head, Department of Psychology, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Delhi University told Firstpost.
"It’s a pathetic state of affairs for the last three days. The violence has escalated and has lead to so many casualties. It's stressful for both students and their parents. This can lead to adolescent anxiety among students. As a parent, I'm worried about my son when he's in college," added Kumar.
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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2020 17:24:40 IST